‘Golden Girls’: Rue McLanahan Had the Most ‘Blanche Devereaux’ Type Clause Written Into Her Contract

by Suzanne Halliburton

Golden Girls star Rue McLanahan had much in common with her alter-ego, the spicy Blanche Deveraux.

They both adored figure-flattering, very expensive, clothes. And if the outfits flattered her “heaving bosoms,” all the better.

Rue McClanahan had a clause written into her contract that she be allowed to keep all of Blanche’s clothing. She filled up 13 closets in her Manhattan apartment with all of Blanche’s outfits. The show was on air for seven seasons, so that’s a lot of clothes.

McClanahan also kept her Golden Girls memorabilia. And when she died, she left orders that her friends and family had first dibs on her clothes and other souvenirs. The rest was included in an estate sale. There was a pair of size eight beige mules that Blanche wore on the show. They were a neutral color, so Blanche probably wore them a lot.

And there also were plenty of colorful silk robes. No doubt, Blanche donned those for the late-night, emotional cheesecake binges with Rose, Dorothy and Sophia at the kitchen table at the home they shared in Miami. One of the lingerie sets designed by Judy Evans sold for more than $1,400, which was $800 more than the asking price.

Blanche Was The Spiciest Of The Golden Girls

Blanche, a widow who deeply loved her husband, George, was the flirtatious southern belle from Atlanta. Creators of the Golden Girls had her date numerous men. She was in her 50s and fabulous, so Rue McClanahan dressed the part. There were colorful pants suits, her fabulous night gowns and all that dazzling evening wear.

Blanche always had dates, and her men took her to the finest establishments. Most of Blanche’s clothes were custom made, while the outfits for the other ladies were off the rack.

Still, Golden Girls wardrobe artist Judy Evans had distinct looks for each of the ladies. Rose loved belted dresses with full skirts. Dorothy dressed in distinct layers. She was tall, so she often wore flats. Sophia always carried her purse, even to bed.

It was McClanahan’s idea to play Blanche with a thick southern accent. She grew up in Ardmore, Okla. Her first significant TV part was a role in the soap opera Another World. She first met Bea Arthur, who played Dorothy on the Golden Girls, when the two were on Maude. Arthur was the star, McClanahan played her best friend.

So by the time they became the Golden Girls, they enjoyed an established friendship. McClanahan met Betty White, who played Rose, when the two were on Mama’s Family.

Rue McClanahan died in 2010 of a stroke. Betty White, who is 99, is the last surviving Golden Girls cast member.