Rue McCLanahan of Golden Girls Dies

September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 3, 2010 at 2:11 PM EDT

By Liz Heron

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Rue McCLanahan of Golden Girls Dies

September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 3, 2010 at 2:11 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW/ABC) -- Rue McClanahan, the Emmy-winning actress who brought the sexually liberated Southern belle Blanche Devereaux to life on the hit TV series "The Golden Girls," died of a stroke today at age 76.

McClanahan had a long and successful acting career, but was best known for playing Blanche.

"Golden Girls" aimed to show "that when people mature, they add layers," McClanahan told The New York Times in 1985. "They don't turn into other creatures. The truth is we all still have our child, our adolescent, and your young woman living in us."

McClanahan is the third "Golden Girl" to pass away in recent years, leaving Betty White, who played Rose Nylund, as the last remaining cast member of the iconic show, which ran on NBC from 1985 to 1992.

Born in Healdton, Okla., McClanahan got her big break in 1972 in CBS's "Maude," starring future costar Bea Arthur. Her portrayal of Blanche Devereaux, an unapologetic man-eater with a charming Southern drawl on "Golden Girls," launched her to stardom.

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