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Published:June 7th, 2010 21:22 EST
Rue McClanahan: Golden Girl (1934-2010)

Rue McClanahan: Golden Girl (1934-2010)

By Garrett Godwin


Before New Yorkers Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte on Sex & The City, there was Dorothy (Bea Arthur), Rose (Betty White), Blanche (Rue McClanahan), and Sophia (Estelle Getty) -- aka The Golden Girls of Miami, which aired on NBC from 1985-92.  The series broke ground with having four veteran character actresses in leading roles -- especially with McClanahan in the juicy role as the elder Southern Belle cougar Blanche Devereaux.

McClanahan, who died of a stroke late last week at the age of 76, was the second televison icon following the death of Diff`rent Strokes star Gary Coleman, who died on May 28 at the age of 42.

The Golden Girls lasted seven successful seasons and spawned the short-lived The Golden Palace (1992-93) with an then unknown Don Cheadle that lasted one season.  The Golden Girls still remains popular all over the world through reruns in syndication and on DVD.

Married six times, Rue McClanahan is survived by her widower Morrow Wilson, her son Mark Bish from her first marriage, and her sister Dr. Melinda L. McClanahan.