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'Golden Girls' star Rue McClanahan dead at 76

June 3, 2010 |  9:50 am

Rue mcclanahan Rue McClanahan, known to TV fans as Vivian Harmon on "Maude" and most famously as the oversexed Southern belle Blanche Devereaux on the 1980s sitcom "The Golden Girls," died early Thursday morning after suffering a major stroke, her manager said.

The Emmy winner, who was working into 2009, had a minor stroke in January while recovering from heart bypass surgery in November. Recent roles included a 2009 spot on "Law & Order" and a lead on the first season of the Logo series "Sordid Lives."

She was married six times -- most recently in 1997, to Morrow Wilson.

McClanahan is the third of the four "Golden Girls" costars to pass away; Estelle Getty died at 84 in 2008 and Bea Arthur died at 86 in 2009. Fans of the gang might enjoy hearing White and McClanahan remembering Arthur in a discussion on NBC's "Today" show (click here for the video).

Betty White is now the sole surviving "Girl." 

— Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Rue McClanahan in May 2007, when her memoir was released. Credit: Mark Mainz / Getty Images.

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