Show is based on the lives and interactions of four older women whom have all been divorced/widowed, and are now roommates. Dorothy's main goal during the series is to find a companion she can relate to while her mother Sophia adds her comical outlook and stories. Rose's St. Olaf-ness makes her a little corny but lovable. One thing that changes nearly every episode is whom Blanche is courting.
A New York stage actress in the 1950s, McClanahan was plucked from the stage by 'Norman Lear' (qv) for ...
Blanche Elizabeth Devereaux (née Hollingsworth), daughter of Elizabeth-Ann Margaret Bennett and Curtis Hollingsworth, was a Southern belle who grew up on a plantation named "Twin Oaks" outside of Atlanta, Georgia, and raised a Baptist. Blanche was always "the apple of her father's eye" (she referred to him as "Big Daddy," a reference to the Tennessee Williams character Harvey "Big Daddy" Pollitt in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). Blanche had a love-hate relationship with her sisters Charmaine (Barbara Babcock) and Virginia (Sheree North). She also faced difficulty coming to terms with the homosexuality of her brother Clayton (Monte Markham) and the mental illness of her brother Tad (Ned Beatty), later revealed in The Golden Palace.
The house that the ladies shared, at 6151 Richmond St., initially belonged to Blanche, who had lived there for many years with her late husband George (played in flashbacks by George Grizzard) (Later in the series, however, she sold equal shares of the house to Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia). Blanche and George possibly had 6 children: two daughters (Rebecca and Janet, both of whom made appearances on the show) and four sons (including Matthew, who appeared in the spin-off series The Golden Palace). Biff, Doug, Matthew, and Skippy were mentioned as her sons once to Dorothy but never mentioned again. Blanche had an estranged relationship with both of her daughters. Blanche had several grandchildren, notably David (a teenage rebel, played by Billy Jayne (also known as Billy Jacoby), who visited Miami in one episode), Sara (who visited with her mother Janet during the last season), Melissa (a young beauty-pageant contestant), and Aurora (Rebecca's infant daughter, conceived by artificial insemination in one of the series' on-going storylines). Blanche acted as Rebecca's birthing coach in the delivery and the experience helped further heal their relationship. George Devereaux's illegitimate son, David (played by Mark Moses), the seventh Devereaux child, was discovered when the young man turned up at the house, looking for George. This led Blanche to struggle with the fact that her husband, to whom she was devoted, was unfaithful during their marriage.
Throughout most of the series, Blanche was portrayed as man-hungry, and she clearly had the most male admirers—and stories detailing various sexual encounters—over the course of the series. Blanche was very vain and, as a result, always tried to act younger than she was. Although it is widely believed that her exact age was never revealed (it was mentioned she even had her true date of birth removed from vital records "by order of the Governor"), in Season 3, Episode 25 entitled "Mother's Day" (aired May 7, 1988), it is revealed in a flashback that Blanche was 17 in 1949. That would make her 53 when the series began in 1985, and 61 when the spin-off ended in 1993.
Blanche Devereaux Photos
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