A New York stage actress in the 1950s, McClanahan was plucked from the stage by Norman Lear for roles on All in the Family (1971) and later Maude (1972). For two years (1982 - 1984), she played "Aunt Fran" on Mama's Family (1983) until her character was killed off and she joined the cast of Golden Girls. She hit her comedic stride as a sharp tongued oversexed Southern belle on The Golden Girls (1985).
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