Rue McClanahan Birthday: February 21, 1934 Birth Place: Healdton, Oklahoma, USA Height: 5' 3"
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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 it was canceled by NBC. She hit her comedic stride as a sharp tongued oversexed Southern belle on "The Golden Girls" (1985).
In 1997, Rue was diagnosed with cancer. She had a lumpectemy and five months of chemotherapy. She now does a lecture entitled "Aging Gracefully" for breast-cancer support groups.
She graduated cum laude in the University of Tulsa with a degree in German and theatre arts. She was also the only female member of the school's science club.
Became a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Tulsa.
Played the same character, Blanche Devereaux, on four different TV series: "The Golden Palace" (1992), "The Golden Girls" (1985), "Nurses" (1991), and "Empty Nest" (1988).
Is of Scot-Irish and Choctaw Indian ancestry.
After her second marriage broke up, she went to New York, and started doing films. She thinks her "They Might Be Giants" part her best movie part.
Still has "jitters" for opening nights, about rehearsals and worrying about not having enough time to prepare perfectly.
Betty White was originally considered for the role of the sexpot, Blanche, on "The Golden Girls." However, Betty had already been the aggressive Sue Ann Nivens on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and Rue had played the introverted Vivian on "Maude." It was thought best not to have these two actresses reprise similar characters. Therefore, Betty got the part of naive Rose Nylen and Rue played the oversexed Blanche.