The New Rue (I love it when good art wins the day)

While we're on the subject of cover redesigns...

Year before last, I worked my memoir guru mojo with actress Rue McClanahan, who played Blanch (aka "the slutty one") on The Golden Girls. It's a fact that at any given moment of any given day, The Golden Girls is on television somewhere in the world. Even now -- twenty years or so after the last ep was shot -- the show has a huge international following. So it was no surprise that when the book came out in hardcover last spring, the design played straight to that audience with a very Blanchified photo of the present day Rue everyone recognizes laughing in front of a golden backdrop.

But the book tells the story of Rue's real career, in which The Golden Girls played an important but very small part. Rue is a classically trained actress who studied the craft under the legendary Uta Hagen and a classically trained ballerina who studied various dance disciplines at Jacob's Pillow, among other places. Most of her career has been in theatre, on and off Broadway. She is incredibly smart and one of the most generous, delightful people I've ever known. And of course, she is hilarious. Joie de vivre out the wazoo. I was over the moon when I saw how the redesigned paperback cover of the book reflects the story inside, which is about so much more than the TV show.

The photo is from "The Apple Tree", a play Rue did back in the 60s. She'd returned to New York after a stint in LA, where she'd done everything from film noir to tiki dancing dinner theater. Despite the struggling circumstances of her life at the time, she was happy, partly because she is an innately happy person, but largely because she was finally doing what she wanted to do and living where she wanted to live, geographically and creatively. The Marilyn wink, the symbolic apple, the spark of divine fire -- the very first time I saw this photo in a box of memorabilia Rue was sorting through in her office, I said, "Oh, Rue, it's so you!"

It may not be the Rue everyone recognizes, but it is the real Rue, and that's the Rue revealed in the book.

Comments

I've read the book (and loved it) and I agree that this new cover rocks! Best of luck with the paperback release.

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