Golden Girls Star Rue McClanahan Dies at 76
Golden Girl Rue McClanahan, 76, has died.
"She passed away at 1 a.m. this morning," her manager, Barbara Lawrence, tells PEOPLE. She had a massive stroke."
McClanahan, who played Blanche Deveraux on the still-popular '80s sitcom Golden Girls, had suffered a minor stroke earlier this year while recovering from bypass surgery. Lawrence added that at the time of her death Thursday, McClanahan “had her family with her. She went in peace.”
Still in syndication, Golden Girls ran on NBC from 1985 to 1992. Only last year, McClanahan's costar, Beatrice Arthur, died from cancer. Estelle Getty died in 2008. Surviving star Betty White is currently enjoying a remarkable resurgence in her career, having recently hosted Saturday Night Live.
Born in Healdton, Okla., Rue lived in six towns by the time she was 8. (Her father was a road builder who moved from one project to another.) She found solace in acting ("the only thing I ever wanted to do") and after four years at the University of Tulsa moved to New York, where she worked as a part-time file clerk while trying to find jobs in the theater.