Call Answered: Rue McClanahan Interview: The Golden Girls' Blanche Devereaux

actress author broadway emmy award winner film movies musical theatre play television theatre tv Sep 06, 2009
Title Page of Call Me Adam's interview with Golden Girls' Actress Rue McClanahan. Call Me Adam's logo is on the left side of title page & Rue McClanahan's headshot is on the right side of the title page. At the top of the title page there is an orange jagged circle that says Featured Interview & in between our pictures is the heading A Golden Interview with The Golden Girls' Blanche Devereaux, Rue McClanahan
 Updated 2010:

Rue McClanahan passed away today, June 3, 2010 at the age of 76 after suffering a stroke.

I had been a fan of Rue's since I was a little kid watching her on Mama's Family in the early '80s. When she starred as Blanche Devereaux on The Golden Girls, I simply adored her. I became a big fan of hers. After the show ended, I continued to watch her on The Golden Palace & then her many made-for-TV movies that she starred in along with her guest starring roles on various television shows.

In 2001, I got to meet Rue, live in person, after seeing her in a performance of Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of The Women on Broadway. She was so nice! We talked for a few moments & she even took a picture with me inside the theatre lobby, which you weren't technically allowed to do.

Below is our original 2009 interview. A special Thank You to Michael J. La Rue who sat down with Rue to answer these questions and send them on to me. I am forever grateful!

Original 2009 Interview

In this interview, Rue answered my call to reveal:
  • Behind-The-Scene's story from The Golden Girls
  • Her inspirations
  • Best advice
  • Who she would dream about
  • Strange & Unusual talents 
  • So much more 

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My Mother, Rheua-Nell McClanahan.

2. When did you realize you wanted to become a performer? I realized I wanted to be a performer when I was five and cast as the Mother Cat in my Kindergarten’s performance of Three Little Kittens.  I realized I actually could do it as a profession when I was 12; I figured out that the people I saw in movies were not from Hollywood, they were actually from other towns, even small ones, just like me.

3. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Harrison Ford.

4. Is there ever a time you thought about quitting? Heavens no!

5. What is the best advice a teacher ever gave you? Barney Brown, a man who directed me at The Pasadena Playhouse – and directors are often teachers, at least the good ones –  he told me: “You’ll never become great until you’re willing to go out on a limb, much further than you feel comfortable, so far out it is dangerous, and then you learn to pull it back and refine it.

Rue McClanahan with her Emmy Award

6. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? It would be me actually, but only because there is a particular dream I want to experience again. In it, I was floating in the air, conducting a symphony that I had created; and I knew I was in a dream and wouldn't be able to bring the wonderful music from my subconscious out with me. I would love to have that dream again!

7. Favorite kind of shoes? Anything that is really comfortable.

8. Favorite holiday? Christmas.

9. Favorite color? Blue.

10. Favorite kind of sundae (ice cream flavor & topping)? A classic: vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Bonus Questions:

11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can write backwards, upside down, and even upside down AND backwards.

12. What is the weirdest thing you've read about yourself and where did you read it? There was an article filled with lies about The Golden Girls' actors in the National Enquirer. Someone gave it to me on the way to the airport and I read that I had narcolepsy; that condition where you just fall asleep out of the blue. It also said that Betty White ate six cheeseburgers a day!

Whoever leaked to the press got it wrong. I have the ability to take naps anywhere, and often did, even behind the couch on the set of The Golden Girls, but I do not suffer from narcolepsy. And Betty White did not eat six cheeseburgers every day, she ate one.

Rue McClanahan

More on Rue McClanahan:

Rue McClanahan is an icon. She is an OBIE and Emmy Award winning actress. Not a decade has passed by without Rue being in the spotlight since making her stage debut in 1957 at the Erie Playhouse in Inherit The Wind. She studied with theatre legend Uta Hagen and made her Broadway debut in 1969 in Jimmy Shine starring Dustin Hoffman and in 1970 won the OBIE Award for her role in Who's Happy Now?
Rue McClanahan joined the soap opera Another World from 1970-1971. It was her guest starring role in 1972 on All In The Family, created by Norman Lear, that lead Lear to cast Rue in Maude (alongside Bea Arthur), where she stayed until the show ended in 1978.
In the 80s, Rue was on the hit show Mamma's Family starring Vicki Lawrence (and Betty White for a time) and then came The Golden Girls from 1985-1992, reuniting Rue with Bea Arthur and Betty White along with Estelle Getty. After the The Golden Girls ended, Rue continued playing "Blanche Devereaux" for one season on The Golden Palace.
The late '90s & new millennium has brought Rue back to the stage, starring in such hits as The Vagina Monologues, Roundabout Theatre's revival of The Women and the Broadway production of Wicked. She also released her autobiography, My First Five Husbands and The Ones Who Got Away and came back to  series TV in Sordid Lives: The Series.
You can catch Rue September 19, 2009 at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, TX as part of A Sordid Comedy Affair tour with creator Del Shores along with cast members Leslie Jordan, Jason Dottley, and Caroline Rhea.

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