Actress Rue McClanahan
was best known for her role as lusty Southern belle Blanche Devereaux on the television sitcom The Golden Girls
. She had a successful career on stage, film and television for over fifty years.
She was born Eddi-Rue McClanahan
in Healdton, Oklahoma on February 21, 1934. She studied theater at the University of Tulsa and made her professional stage debut at the Erie Playhouse in Pennsylvania in 1957. Soon after, she was performing in off-Broadway plays in New York.
McClanahan began acting in films in the early 1960s, appearing in the low-budget thriller Five Minutes to Live
(aka Door-to-Door Maniac
) (1961) starring Johnny Cash
. She continued her career in such features as the Sherlock Holmsian fantasy They Might Be Giants
(1971) with George C. Scott
, and the western slasher film Blade
She starred as Vivian Cavender Harmon, Bea Arthur
’s title character’s best friend, in the sitcom Maude
from 1972 to 1978. She starred