Photo of Rue McClanahan Rue McClanahan

An Emmy-winning actress who logged her biggest professional successes well after her ingenue days, Rue McClanahan was born in Healdton, Okla., on Feb. 21, 1934. Her uncommon stage name is a shortened form of her birth name, Eddi-Rue.

Although McClanahan's early acting experience was rooted in theater, she is best known for her work on television, beginning with her portrayal of Bea Arthur's best friend on "Maude" (1972-78). But McClanahan became a TV icon when she reteamed with Arthur to play lusty Southern belle Blanche Devereaux alongside Betty White and Estelle Getty, winning critics and audiences over as one of the four beloved "Golden Girls" (1985-92).

McClanahan's film résumé includes the comedy Starship Troopers (1997). In 2005, she stepped onto the Broadway stage to play Madame Morrible in "Wicked." After suffering a stroke, she died June 3, 2010, at the age of 76.

Rue McClanahan in The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

1939 G

There's no place like home for young Dorothy (Judy Garland), who's been swept away from her farm in Kansas to a wonderland of munchkins, flying monkeys and different-colored horses. She must follow the Yellow Brick Road to the all-knowing Wizard of Oz to find her way home. Along the way, she meets the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley) and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), who help her fend off the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton).

  • Rue McClanahan in Starship Troopers Starship Troopers
  • Rue McClanahan in The Golden Girls The Golden Girls
  • Rue McClanahan in The Man in the Brown Suit The Man in the Brown Suit
  • Rue McClanahan in The Rimers of Eldritch The Rimers of Eldritch
  • Rue McClanahan in Mama's Family Mama's Family
  • Rue McClanahan in Sordid Lives Sordid Lives
  • Rue McClanahan in Burke's Law: Season 1: Vol. 2 Burke's Law: Season 1: Vol. 2
  • Rue McClanahan in Hogan's Goat Hogan's Goat
  • Rue McClanahan in Mother of the Bride Mother of the Bride
  • Rue McClanahan in Nunsense 2: The Sequel Nunsense 2: The Sequel
  • Rue McClanahan in Innocent Victims Innocent Victims
  • Rue McClanahan in Nunsense 3: The Jamboree Nunsense 3: The Jamboree
  • Rue McClanahan in The Fighting Temptations The Fighting Temptations
  • Rue McClanahan in Nuncrackers Nuncrackers
  • Rue McClanahan in Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark