‘Golden Girls’: Rue McClanahan’s Death Hurt Betty White More Than She Thought Possible

by Keeli Parkey

In addition to playing best friends on the beloved sitcom “The Golden Girls,” Betty White and Rue McClanahan were actually very close friends in real life.

The two beloved actresses had worked together before they appeared on that show. According to OKMagazine.com, White and McClanahan appeared on “Mama’s Family.”

So, “The Golden Girls” was a reunion of sorts for them. And, just had they had done before, White and McClanahan got along very well while working on the famous sitcom about four mature women sharing a home in Miami, Florida.

“They would play little word games when the cameras weren’t rolling,” a friend of the actresses told the publication. “There was such love and friendship between them.”

That “love and friendship” ran deep. So deep, in fact, that when Rue McClanahan passed away more than a decade ago, White was pretty devastated.

“It hurts more than I even thought it would, if that’s even possible,” Betty White said of McClanahan’s death. “She was everything, as far as a friend is concerned.”

Rue McClanahan was 76 years old at the time of her death. She passed away on June 3, 2010, in New York City.

Betty White is the Last Living Star of ‘The Golden Girls’

As fans of “The Golden Girls” will know, White played the sweet, but very naive, Rose Nylund on the show. Rue McClanahan played the sassy, man-crazy Southern belle Blanche Devereaux.

Betty White is now 99 years old. She was born on Jan. 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois. She is the last surviving member of the four women who will forever be “The Golden Girls” in the hearts of millions and millions of fans.

In addition to McClanahan, “The Golden Girls” stars Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty have also passed away. Arthur, who played Dorothy Zbornak on the show, died on April 25, 2009, in Los Angeles, California. She was 86 years old at the time of her death. Getty played Dorothy’s mother, Sophia Petrillo. Getty passed away on July 8, 2008, in Los Angeles. She was 84 years old.

And, even though she wasn’t as close to Arthur and Getty as she was to McClanahan, White still had strong friendships with those to beloved actresses.

Estelle was just incredible,” Betty White said about her costar.

And, while there have been many reports that White and Arthur didn’t get along, they actually did. They reportedly bonded while they mourned the deaths of their mothers around the same time.

“There was a lot of hand-holding and condolences,” a friend of the actresses shared with OKMagazine. “They really pulled together whenever any of them were experiencing grief, and I think that carried over into their on-camera interactions.”