DEAD CELEBRITIES: Rue McClanahan Edition

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They always happen in threes. First Gary Coleman, then Dennis Hopper, and now our third fateful death of the week: Rue McClanahan, who is best known for playing Blanche on The Golden Girls. The actress was 76. This is a rather sad turn of events, especially now that The Golden Girls has received a new injection of nostalgic adoration, thanks to the resurgence of Betty White.

I actually met Rue McClanahan about five years ago. Back then, I worked down the hall from a casting office, and every day, random celebrities would saunter past en route to auditions. It was kind of awesome for me, what with my love of gawking. One day, Rue McClanahan herself walked by, and while I was very excited, I thought I’d act professional and remain in my seat. Luckily though, a little girl whose mom also worked in the hallway happened to step into my office about five minutes later.

“Why is there a Golden Girl in the hallway?” she asked me. I explained that Ms. McClanahan was in fact here for an audition. The girl nodded and then announced a desire to meet her. Well, who was I to deprive a little girl of her dreams? With pen and paper in hand, the two of us marched down the hall and introduced ourselves to Rue. I tell you, the woman was as sweet as molasses (sorry, I feel a need to speak in Southern-style similes). Rue signed an autograph for the girl and then asked us a few questions. It was such an endearing moment that I spied nearby auditioning actors Kristen Johnston and Chris Penn (also dead now) smiling at the scene. Class act, that Rue McClanahan.

Now this leaves just Betty as the last standing Golden Girl, outliving Blanche, Sophia, Dorothy, and even Stanley (not to mention Harry Weston, if you want to talk Empty Nest). Sadness all around.

For more information, click here. (thanks for the heads up, Neil)

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DEAD CELEBRITIES: Gary Coleman Edition

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The run of bad luck with the former stars of Diff’rent Strokes continued today with the death of Gary Coleman. The former child actor suffered an intercranial hemorrhage in Utah and never recovered. He was 42.

And so another pivotal sitcom star of my youth passes away. Sadness. For more information, click here.

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