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Thank you for Being a Friend

4:00 PM EDT on June 3, 2010

Growing up without cable, Golden Girls was one of the sitcoms that re-ran constantly on Oklahoma's UHF channels, and was therefore one of the shows I watched relentlessly.  It wasn't until I got to college, though, that I realized it was quite possibly the dirtiest show on television during my formative years, and that can be attributed directly to Oklahoma native Rue McClanahan's portrayal of Blanche Devereaux.

When I learned that Blanche, I mean Rue, had died today at the age of 76, I began looking into her background.  Unlike many of the "Oklahomans" who made our list of Top-100 Oklahoma Embarrassments, McClanahan was a true Okie.  For instance, Brad Pitt was born here and moved to Kansas before he was a month old.  Rue, however, was born in Healdton, grew up in Ardmore, and attended Tulsa University before trying to make it as an actress.

Also, it turns out that the character that made her famous may not have required much acting for Mrs. McClanahan.  In 2007, she released the book My First Five Husbands with the assistance of her sixth.  She was obviously a woman who sought, and failed to find, love for most of her life.

McLanahan's most famous role played up that tendency.  As Blanche Devereaux became an idol to women reaching their golden years by maintaining a healthy libido, the other characters on the show called her a slut in less-than-thinly veiled jokes over cheesecake.  Whenever she wasn't involved in one of those late night chats, she was chasing tail of old dudes in the pre-Viagra era.  My guess is that she spent a lot of evenings frustrated.

Of course, the longest lasting legacy of this actress will be to make the pre-pubescent boys who once laughed at her old people sex jokes throw up in their mouth as adults.  For that, well I don't thank her, but I do appreciate the enjoyment she provided in my youth.

Rest in Peace, Blanche.

Rue McClanahan

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