Saturday, June 5, 2010

Rue McClanahan: A Golden Girl for the Ages

(Ah dearest, Rue. Your heart is true.)

Since I was away on my Paris trip when news broke that Rue McClanahan passed away, I didn't have a chance to post anything acknowledging her death. Still I was thinking about it. The subway stop next to my hotel in Paris was coincidentally named "Blanche" so I mentally referred to it as "Blanche Devereaux Station" throughout my visit there. I knew when I got back and got resettled into my routine, I'd post about it.

I always think it's sad news when a Golden Girl passes away. I mean, of course, that's life. It's inevitable. But for me, like so many other viewers, they were like surrogate grandmothers for years on the show. And seeing them in reruns it was easy to pretend they were not really aging. And then in the past two years we lost three of them. First Estelle passed, and then Bea, and now with Rue gone we've only got Betty White left with us. At least Betty is still vital and active and kicking comedy ass in TV and film.

Aside from her outstanding work on Golden Girls, I will always remember Rue for her work on Mama's Family, Nunsense, for being the grandma in the first family on Charles in Charge, and perhaps most delightfully for her cameo appearance in Starship Troopers. I love her in that!

But her turn as Blanche was in turns unforgettably vain, sexy, bitchy, vulnerable and of course hilarious. This is my favorite Blanche moment. The way the scene is structured, she never really gets the ovation she deserves for what is pretty much 5 minutes of straight joyous delirium. (this is from the episode where Dorothy is diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.)

RIP, Rue McClanahan. Thank you for all the great laughs and, of course, thank you for being a friend.

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