Happy birthday, in memoriam, to the one-of-a-kind Rue McClanahan, born on this date in 1934. Rue deservedly won an Emmy for her flamboyant, joyous performances as Blanche on The Golden Girls. The role became so firmly identified with McClanahan that it's hard to picture the original concept, which was for Betty White to play Blanche, while Rue would portray the sweetly naive Rose.
If you haven't done so, check out Rue's memoir My First Five Husbands ... and The Ones Who Got Away, a fun, juicy, candid account that covers her career on the New York stage, her rise to fame with Maude, and even a little backstage dish about The Golden Girls. Like the lady herself, the book is one you won't soon forget.