‘Golden Girls’ Star Rue McClanahan Hilariously Revealed Her ‘Most Heartwarming’ Moment on Show’

by Suzanne Halliburton

Rue McClanahan was so very Blanche from the Golden Girls when she was asked about her most heart-warming moment from the show.

This was in 2006, when she, Betty White and most of the top behind-the-scene folks from the Golden Girls participated in PaleyFest LA. The program included the showing of the first episode, then a frank discussion, but with lots of jokes, of the making of the Golden Girls. The show went off the network air in 1992, but still is popular in reruns. You can find most every episode on a bevy of cable networks or streaming services.

Rue McClanahan played Blanche, the sexy southern bell, to perfection. And in 2006, McClanahan was Blanche again, sans accent. (McClanahan is an Oklahoma native).

She mentioned executive producers Paul Junger Witt and Susan Harris.

So that favorite moment was “when Paul and Susan would take me aside and say ‘we just have to tell you, you are just the best one on the show.'”

The festival attendees applauded loudly and everyone laughed. Betty White, who was sitting next to McClanahan, turned her back, in jest. Then White quipped: “talking about going over the top.”

Then McClanahan said, “Susan would say, ‘You’ve gone so far beyond what I wrote.”

We’ve got McClanahan’s most heart-warming moment. So what was her favorite Golden Girls episode? That would be Journey to the Center of Attention. That’s so very Blanche to love this one.

Or as McClanahan said: “the grand piano scene, (the song) I Want to be Loved By You. I loved that.”

The episode ran Feb. 22, 1992. The Golden Girls series was in its final months. And in this episode, the girls visited Blanche’s favorite bar, the Rusty Anchor. Blanche declared that it was nickel beer night, so she told everybody to get dressed and come with her.

However, Dorothy (Bea Arthur) charms all the men with her singing. There’s even a performance of Dorothy singing “Hard-hearted Hannah.”

Well, Blanche was having none of that. Men couldn’t possibly be more interested in Dorothy. (Read that sentence in a southern accent). Rue McClanahan said she wanted to go all out for her performance, so she hired a choreographer to help her with the moves. After all, she needed to climb on the piano and sing. One of the Golden Girls producers wanted Blanche to act like Michelle Pfeiffer in the 1989 movie Fabulous Baker Boys.

Blanche wore a fabulous red sparkly outfit in an attempt to woo the Rusty Anchor crowd. She tells them “all my special friends at the Rusty Anchor, this one’s for you.”

Here’s a clip. Is it worthy of the Golden Girls Hall of Fame?

Sadly, Betty White is the only surviving cast member. She’s 99. Estelle Getty, who played Sophia, died in 2008, followed by Bea Arthur (2009) and Rue McClanahan (2010).

But the show lives on in reruns. If you’d like to check out the 2006 PaleyFest, here’s the entire program.