Gina Wilhelm Actress – Remembering Older Actress Rue McClanahan
Some critics see “The Golden Girls” as a progenitor of “Sex in the City,” giving women smart, funny dialogue about sex (and other frank topics). McClanahan won a lead actress Emmy for her work on the show.
Before “The Golden Girls,” she appeared on “All in the Family” and “Maude,” which starred fellow Golden Girl Bea Arthur.
She also originated the role of Lady MacBird in “MacBird!” a play that melded Lyndon B. Johnson and Shakespeare’s “MacBeth.”
She was also pleased to have received a letter from Tennessee Williams lauding her performance as Caitlin Thomas, Williams’ wife and Dylan Thomas’ daughter in the play “Dylan.”
Born Eddi-Rue McClanahan, her first performance was at age 4 in “The Three Little Kittens.” “A character actor even then,” McClanahan said.
Critic Edith Oliver said of her stage debut in “Who’s Happy Now?” that McClanahan gave a “first-rate comedy performance that is always legitimate — no hokum, nothing but truth.”
She is greatly missed.