Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rue McClanahan 1934 -2010

The Golden Girls was more than just good comedy, it was a show that proved you could grow old gracefully, live a full life and find happiness after hardships. Rue McClanahan was of course, Blanche Devereaux, the southern belle with a penchant for putting notches on her bedpost. She was so good at portraying Blanche, I was always a little shocked when I saw her in other roles or in interviews.

Rue passed away today at the age of 76. We've lost every Golden Girl except for the indomitable Betty White, who I hope lives forever. It seems so bittersweet to watch Betty having this miraculous comeback at the tender age of 88 while seeing her co-stars pass on.

Rue was a star of stage and screen and she made several made for TV movies. One of my favorites was Children of the Bride, which was followed by two sequels, Baby of the Bride and Mother of the Bride. In Children, she plays an older divorcee hitching up with a much younger beau played by Patrick Duffy (me-ow!). John Wesley Shipp and Ted Shackelford would play the hubby in the sequels (how funny that Ted and Patrick were bros on Dallas!). The series was so much fun and also featured Kristy MacNichol (who also starred in the GG spin-off Empty Nest) as a nun going to ex-nun and ending up a dating ex-nun in the end. The Bride movies are the kind of films I could watch over and over again (and have) because they are so simple and so entertaining. Rue was great as the matriarch.

Children of the Bride is on YouTube:

Rue made some great TV movies. Here's a list:

Hogan's Goat (1981)
ABC Afternoon Playbreak: My Secret Mother (1973)
Having Babies III (1978)
Sergeant Matlovitch vs. The US Air Force (1978)
Rainbow (1978)
Topper (1979)
Gridlock (1980)
Word of Honor (1981)
And They Lived Happily Ever After (1981)
The Day the Bubble Burst (1982)
The Skin of Our Teeth (1983)
Picnic (1986)
The Little Match Girl (1987)
Take My Daughters, Please (1988)
The Man in the Brown Suit (1989)
The Wickedest Witch (1989)
After the Shock (1990)
Children of the Bride (1990)
To My Daughter (1990)
The Dreamer of Oz (1990)
Baby of the Bride (1991)
Nunsense (1993)
Mother of the Bride (1993)
Message from Nam (1993)
Days Like This (1994)
Nunsense 2: The Sequel (1994)
A Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell Story (1994)
Blackbird Hall (1995)
A Holiday to Remember (1995)
Innocent Victims (1996)
Dads (1997)
Nunsense Jamboree (1998)
A Saintly Switch (1999)
The Moving of Sophia Myles (2000)
Miracle Dogs (2003)
Back to You and Me (2005)
Generation Gap (2008)

Ummm, OK. That is one impressive list!

Of course, who could forget her on GG, Maude and Mama's Family among the many other television shows she appeared on... What an awesome talent she was.

And finally, here's a segment of the 80s anthology show Darkroom called Daisies, featuring Rue and Lloyd Bochner. It's only about five minutes long, but shows what a chameleon Rue was:

My heart goes out to all of her friends and family as we mourn the loss of this one of a kind woman together.


Jenn said...

Excellent post. I was saddened by the news this morning as well. Of all the tributes I've read today, yours in my favorite. She was so good at playing Blanche, it is hard to see her in other projects.

For instance, she was good friends with exploitation director John Hayes and starred in many films for him, several times as a stripper! Check Something Weird Video, too, they have more than one title staring Rue.

RIP Rue! You will be missed!

Pam said...

It's very sad - celebrity deaths seem to be coming in groups of three these think Betty White is the only Golden Girl left. I think because of her GG role everyone thought of her as the flirty femme fatale, but you've clearly shown she had more depth as an actress than that. Great post!

HH said...

Thanks so much for writing this. I really loved Blanche. And awesome for posting the Darkroom episode. I wouldn't have known it was there. ;)

aunt john said...

This is another bummer and I thought that "deaths in threes" quota had been met.

On a more positive note, can we just discuss that blazer/vest combination she is wearing in the top picture of this post?

I want one in every color!

Tim Tipton said...

.. And then there was one. First
Bea Arthur and Estelle Gette
passing last year and now Rue.
The Golden Girls was Rue's
break-out in my opinion. Though
great in Maude and Mama's family,
she tended to play frumpy older
women. When she premired on The
Golden Girls, suddenly she was
this Southern vixen. That will
be her legacy.

Amanda By Night said...

Hey everybody, thanks for all the comments. Nice to see how loved Rue was. I watched oodles of Golden Girls last night along with Chilren of the Bride.

John, I was thinking about her multi-colored vest. Let's find it!

Jenn, thanks for stopping by. I have one of those John Hayes movies (or I should say my fiance does) and he wants to show it to me. She was a looker in her days.

Pam, she really did have range. Even just watching her on Maude and then GG, you could see how different she could be.

Heidi, isn't that Darkroom episode awesome? I love it. Lloyd Bochner = Mmmmmm.

Tim, thanks for stopping by! I am so sad there's only one GG left. So sad...

LaraAnn said...

My mom and I loved the Golden Girls and are both sad that 3 of them have died. Betty White seems to be doing alot these days.