‘Golden Girl’ Rue McClanahan Dies at Age 76

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Emmy-winning actress Rue McClanahan, who played Blanche Devereaux in the hit TV series “The Golden Girls,” has died at the age of 76. She passed away on Thursday at 1 a.m. of a stroke. She had suffered a minor stroke earlier this year, while recovering from bypass surgery.

McClanahan had an active career in off-Broadway and regional stages in the 1960s before she was tapped for TV in the 1970s for the key best-friend character on the hit series “Maude,” starring Beatrice Arthur. After that series ended in 1978, McClanahan landed the role as Aunt Fran on “Mama’s Family” in 1983.

But her most loved role came in 1985 when she co-starred with Arthur, Betty White and Estelle Getty in “The Golden Girls.”

McClanahan’s death leaves White as the last surviving member of the show’s cast. Arthur died from cancer last year and Getty passed away in 2008.

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