by MPD
Categories: People
Tags: , .

We’re deeply saddened to report that “Golden Girls” actress and longtime animal-advocate Rue McClanahan passed away earlier today at the age of 76.

McClanahan began her career on the New York stage in the 1950′s and later won an Emmy for her work on “Golden Girls.”

Rue was a supporter of many animal causes, and worked closely with PETA on various campaigns. In 2008, she told Larry King, “I think they do it exactly the way it should be done. They do it through the courts. They do it legally and they make a lot of changes in the way animals are suffering. I really admire them. I’ve been with them for years and I just — they — I can’t say enough wonderful things about how they operate.”

Betty White, the only surviving member of the “Golden Girls,” made a statement this afternoon, saying, “Rue was a close and dear friend. I treasured our relationship. It hurts more than I even thought it would, if that’s possible.”

On a personal note: I had the chance to meet McClanahan last year at a benefit and was genuinely impressed with her spirit and commitment.

We send our condolences to McClanahan’s family and friends. She will be missed.