Thank you for being a friend 

Blanche Devereaux, satisfier of hundreds of men and resident hussy of fictionalized '80s Miami, has passed away.

On June 3, the world lost its third Golden Girl in as many years when Healdton native and University of Tulsa grad Rue McClanahan passed away at the age of 76. Completing the celebrity death trifecta started by Gary Coleman and continued by Dennis Hopper, everyone's favorite Southern belle suffered a massive stroke and died at 1 a.m.

In January, McClanahan had suffered a minor stroke while recovering from bypass surgery. Her death leaves Betty White, 88, as the last remaining star of TV's "The Golden Girls," which ran from 1985 to 1992.

Bea Arthur, who played the towering, perpetually-brow-furrowing Dorothy Zbornak, died of cancer last April at the age of 86. Estelle Getty, originator of the razor-tongued Sophia Petrillo, died in 2008.

Sad, yes. But priority No. 1 quickly became preserving what we have left. In the wake of McClanahan's death, the Internet exploded with "Be safe, Betty" sentiments. White is in the midst of a career resurgence, with several movie roles in the can or in the works, a successful and long-lobbied-for "Saturday Night Live" hosting gig, a new TV Land sitcom and a spot in the ever-coveted Snickers commercial. She has quickly became a national treasure.

Unfortunately, we must face the only reasonable conclusion possible: Betty White may be sending her compatriots to the great retirement home in the sky to cash in on the deceased celebrity publicity buzz.

Underneath that sly, I'll-be-your-grandma-and-make-you-cookies smile is something more sinister. We see you, Betty, and we'll wait to thank you for being a friend.

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