Eddi-Rue McClanahan was born in in Oklahoma, the daughter of a beautician, and a a building contractor. She was of Irish, and Choctaw Indian. She had the 'usual' upbringing, and went to college at the University of Tulsa, where she majored in German and Theater.
By 1957 she had found her way to New York City, and by 1960, she had a role on Broadway, where she was in a musical with Dustin Hoffman. (Jimmy Shine).
She then moved on to Soap Operas, both "Another World", and "Where the Heart Is". Then, prime time called, and she met Bea Arthur for the first time, in the television show "Maude". During this time, she also tried her hand at movies, but found little success. She had many television roles, but, of course, found her wildest success with "The Golden Girls".
Rue was always an animal advocate, and vegetarian, and was one of the first celebrities to support PETA. She was married six times (the last one finally took!) and had one child.
Her health became precarious in 1997. She was diagnosed, and beat breast cancer at that time. Ten years later, (Nov. 09) she ended up hospitalizes, and had bypass surgery, during which she had a minor stroke. As we know, yesterday, she had another major stroke, and she died. She wished to have no services, but she does have an official memorial page, on Facebook