Actress will lecture on Hill

Adriane Hardin

As a child, Jared Davila watched “The Golden Girls” with his grandmother.

Next Monday night at 7, Rue McClanahan, also known as TV’s Blanche, will step out of the Georgetown freshman’s memory and into Downing University Center theater.

Davila picked up his ticket in DUC yesterday, the first day the free tickets were available. According to Azurdee Garland, Campus Activities Board assistant, it’s a good thing he did.

When CAB’s offices closed yesterday, all but three of the 700 available tickets had been distributed, Garland said.

McClanahan is lecturing to promote breast cancer awareness.

Garland said CAB thought bringing McClanahan to campus would spark student interest in activities such as “Up ‘Til Dawn,” an all-night fund raiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Cancer is something McClanahan is familiar with. McClanahan, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, will speak about the disease and what she calls “aging gracefully.”

“Aging gracefully – that is information about how to eat,” McClanahan said in a telephone interview yesterday. “And living a lifestyle that is conducive to warding off cancer.”

McClanahan said she believes cancer prevention education is key in the battle against the disease.

“I didn’t know anything about breast cancer when I got it,” McClanahan said. “I didn’t know I was in grave danger of getting it by being on estrogen replacement hormone therapy.”

McClanahan said she had been receiving therapy since she started menopause. At the time, McClanahan’s oncologist told her therapy would prevent osteoporosis and strengthen her heart.

McClanahan said she was told later that it was dangerous to receive therapy at all.

“There are other things that stop osteoporosis – like plenty of exercise and weight lifting and having a healthy diet,” McClanahan said.

She said her family was her strength during her battle with cancer.

“They’re invaluable to me all the time,” McClanahan said.

McClanahan and Morrow Wilson were married on Christmas Day, a milestone that fell between McClanahan’s sixth and seventh chemotherapy treatment.

“I had to have eight shots after every chemotherapy session,” McClanahan said. “He gave them to me in the hip afterwards.”

McClanahan said one of the most important things about getting well – in fact, about staying healthy to start with – is the support of family and friends.

Many students will recognize McClanahan from her role as the over-sexed Blanche Devereaux.

“It’s kind of funny when they hear it’s actually a breast cancer awareness program,” Garland said.

Most students have no idea McClanahan is an actress and a speaker.

That isn’t something that bothers McClanahan.

“(Blanche is) so funny and so everyone is looking forward to seeing me and seeing how much like Blanche I am,” McClanahan said. “I play on that a little bit.”

There are those who are only familiar with the image of the sassy vixen Blanche, but Franklin sophomore Tyann Porche isn’t one of them.

Porche said she is an avid fan of “The Golden Girls,” but she really wants to hear what McClanahan has to say about breast cancer.

Porche is a member of Omega Phi Alpha, a service sorority which plans to sponsor a breast cancer awareness week in October.

She said when she and other sorority sisters heard McClanahan would be speaking on breast cancer, they saw it as a way to learn more.

“The Golden Girls” began airing on NBC in 1985. During its seven-year run, the show won 10 Emmys and three Golden Globe awards. McClanahan said the show has never been off the air because syndicated reruns began before the series ended.

Bowling Green sophomore Dana Dickerson is a fan of the cable channel Lifetime, where reruns of “The Golden Girls” are popular.

“Me and my roommate get together and watch Lifetime movies,” Dickerson said. “She (Rue’s character Blanche) is very sexual and she’s very funny.”

Reach Adriane Hardin at [email protected]