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Rue McClanahan, Golden Girl Blanche, dies at 76

Emma Brown

Rue McClanahan, who played the widowed Southern vixen Blanche Devereaux on the 1980s sitcom "The Golden Girls," died this morning after a massive stroke, People magazine is reporting.

"The Golden Girls," about four older women who share a Florida home, aired on NBC from 1985 to 1992. It won two Emmy Awards for best comedy and has endured in syndication.

Ms. McClanahan is the third Golden Girl to die in recent years. Bea Arthur, who played wisecracking Dorothy Zbornak, died of cancer in 2009 and Estelle Getty, who played abrasive octogenarian Sophia Petrillo, died in 2008.

That leaves Betty White, who played ditzy widow Rose Nylund on the show and has recently enjoyed a late-career renaissance, as the last surviving Golden Girl.

Watch Ms. McClanahan's Blanche Devereaux tease Betty White's Rose Nylund about her Minnesota heritage:

Here, Ms. McClanahan explains in an interview how she first read The Golden Girls' script as Rose -- before producers realized her full potential as Blanche:

By Emma Brown  |  June 3, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Actors, actresses , Emma Brown  | Tags: rue mcclanahan golden girls died; rue mcclanahan Blanche Devereaux died; rue mcclanahan died betty white  
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