"Golden Girl" Rue McClanahan Has Passed Away at 76

Celebrity News: Rue McClanahan

Emmy-award winning actress Rue McClanahan, who played sexy senior Blanche Devereaux on the beloved TV series, The Golden Girls, has died. At 76 years old, she passed away quietly at 1 a.m. this morning due to a stroke at The New York Presbyterian Hospital, her manager Barbara Lawrence announced.

Possessing a lively off-Broadway career in the 1960s, she would soon move to television screens on the hit series Maude and Mama's Family in 1983. McClanahan really became a household staple when in 1985 a comedic sitcom revolving around four eccentric older women with fascinating personalities made its debut - it was called "The Golden Girls." Groundbreaking at the time for featuring such mature actresses, McClanahan told The New York Times that the sitcom wanted to show that “when people mature, they add layers. They don't turn into other creatures. The truth is we all still have our child, our adolescent, and your young woman living in us." Not long after that interview, McClanahan won an Emmy for best lead actress in a comedy in 1987.

A definite fighter, McClanahan came out victorious over her bout with breast cancer in 1997, and in 2009 when she underwent heart bypass surgery. A tongue-in-cheek outlook on life, she wrote her memoirs in 2007, entitled "My First Five Husbands ... And the Ones Who Got Away."

In the wake of the successive deaths of fellow Golden Girls over the past couple of years, Betty White is now the only surviving member of the much loved cast. The Insider quotes her as saying "Rue was a close and dear friend. I treasure our relationship. It hurts more than I ever thought it would, if that's even possible."