( b. Feb 21, 1935 Healdton, Oklahoma, USA - d. Jun 03, 2010 New York, New York, USA ) Female
Rue McClanahan, who gained fame as the star of two long running sitcoms, Maude and The Golden Girls, died June 3. She was 76.
Born in Healdton, OK, her father was a road builder who moved from one project to another. After four years at the University of Tulsa, she moved to New York to work in the theatre. She studied acting with Uma Hagen. She began acting Off-Broadway in 1957.
Early Broadway credits include her 1966 debut The Best Laid Plans, Jimmy Shine, a John Sebastian musical starring Dustin Hoffman; Fathers Day, and the David Rabe play Sticks and Bones. In the 1970s, she acted in Neil Simon's California Suite.
In her latter years, Ms. McClanahan returned to the stage. She replaced Carole Shelley as Madame Morrible in the musical Wicked in May 2005, playing the role for eight months, and appeared in a Broadway revival of The Women. She did stints in summer stock and in The Vagina Monologues. She also appeared in productions of Annie, Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music as well as two productions of Nunsense.
Off-Broadway shows include Who's Happy Now, for which she won an Obie Award; After-Play; Macbird!; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; Tonight!; In Living Color!; Dark of the Moon; and Dylan.
Ms. McClanahan was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 1997, from which she completely recovered. She was married six times. Her final husband, Morrow Wilson, survives her, as does Mark Bish, her son from her first marriage, to Tom Bish.