Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Golden Girls' Estelle Getty Dies At Age 84

I am sad to write that Emmy-winner Estelle Getty, best known for her role as Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls, died earlier this morning at the age of 84. According to one of her sons, Getty, who suffered from advanced dementia, died at about 5:30 a.m. at her Hollywood Boulevard home.

A classic example of perserverance paying off, Getty struggled in showbiz for over 40 years before landing the role of Sophia in 1985. As the sarcastic senior citizen, Getty kept us laughing with her hilarious putdowns of Dorothy, Blanche, and Rose and anyone else who crossed her path. When I first started watching The Golden Girls on Saturday nights during the mid 1980s, I often couldn't believe what was coming out of Sophia's mouth! For her work on The Golden Girls, Getty took home the Emmy in 1988 for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy. She also won a Golden Globe two years earlier for her portrayal of Sophia as well.

In addition to playing Sophia on not only The Golden Girls, but also The Golden Palace and Empty Nest, Getty did extensive stage work and appeared in such films as Tootsie, Mask, and Stop! or My Mom Will Shoot. Getty is survived by two sons, a brother, and a sister.

Below is a clip from The Golden Girls in which Sophia tells one of her famous "picture it" stories.


pjazzypar said...

I posted on this also because I am a huge fan of "The Golden Girls". I knew she had been sick for many years. It was rumored that dementia was setting in even before the show ended. I wonder where Bea Arthur is. I still see Betty White and Rue McClanahan from time to time.

Anonymous Mom said...

Sad news. I loved her character on GGirls, without her the show wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

I saw this on Yahoo news just now, and before writing a post about her myself, I decided to check over here. I just knew you were going to have a post about her.

In my opinion, she was the reason that The Golden Girls is still watched and loved today. Her comedic timing and ability to get those "one liner zingers" just right will be what I remember her for most.

I'll never forget spending Sat. evenings in my grandmother's room (she used to live with us for a while) sitting on her bed and eating peppermints while watching the GG. Great memories. My grandmother also tends to speak her mind (like Sophia :).


X. Dell said...

Wow. I'm starting to find out these things from you first. It's better than AmIAnnoying.com around here.

That's an amazing bio, and a testament to perserverance.

David Amulet said...

I never liked the Golden Girls, but I still respect the right of old ladies to have their own TV shows.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

She was great on that show. Seeing the ages makes me scared, my father is 82.


Pop Art Diva Enterprises said...

Oh, that's very sad. I watched that show it's entire run, but now I am a Golden Girl myself and it's too depressing, lol.

Estelle Getty was just great in that show, she really added another level of humor.

Malcolm said...

Pjazzy: The last I heard about Bea Arthur, I think she was doing a one-woman show on stage. I think that she, Rue, and Betty appeared at the recent TV Land awards.

Barbara: For me, it was a toss-up between Dorothy and Sophia as to who was my favorite character on the show. That's not to say that I didn't like Blanche and Rose too.

Thriving Mama PJ: I decided to take one of my customary breaks from the daily grind and went over to Yahoo where I saw the story about Estelle's death on the home page. I liked your story about you watching GG with your grandma. A few years ago there were a lot of stories about how popular GG was with twentysomethings. I'll bet that many of them grew up watching the show with their parents and/or grandparents just like you.

X. Dell: I'm flattered that I'm becoming a good source of pop culture news. If GG was made today, I wonder if the networks would have balked at the idea of casting a relative unknown such as Estelle Getty. I am glad that NBC didn't veto Estelle being cast because the producers struck comic gold with her.

David: That's very AARP of you. I'm glad you put in that part about respecting the rights of old ladies to have their own shows. I'd hate to read a story about you being attacked by some angry seniors; using their walkers or canes to administer a beat down on you.

Mistress of the D: First off, sorry to hear about your kitty. Although I'm not a pet owner, I can still empathize when somebody loses one.

Estelle Getty was awesome! Although the writing on GG was superb, the delivery by her and the other cast members took the show to a whole new level.

Pop Art Diva: In my opinion, GG is one of the few shows that never "Jumped the Shark". I am actually glad that when Bea Arthur decided that she didn't want to do the show anymore, they ended it instead of trying to grind it out w/o her or worse yet try to replace her.

pjazzypar said...

Oops! They actually did try to grind it out without her, remember "Golden Palace". I don't usually curse in the blogsphere, but WHAT A FUCKING DISASTER!!!

Malcolm said...

Pjazzy: Sure, I remember "The Golden Palace". What I should have said is that I am glad that they didn't grind it out and continue "The Golden Girls" without her.

I actually didn't think "The Golden Palace" was all that bad; it just paled in comparison to "The Golden Girls". I compare it to the solo careers of The Beatles. No matter what they did, people would always measure it against the work they did as a group.

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