Thank You For Being A Friend

It is with great sadness that I write this post today as one of my favorite actresses in the entire world, Estelle Getty, passed away early today at the age of 84.

Obviously, my love of “The Golden Girls” goes beyond just getting a laugh or two from the classic 1980s sitcom. I adore the show and the four women who made it so completely amazing. I was a kid when the show first came on and I can still remember watching first-run episodes on television. As it came into syndication in the ’90s, my after-school specials usually involved dramatics from Blanche or witty barbs from Sophia. As an adult, I appreciate the show’s staying power, the relevance of its jokes and situations more than 20 years later, and the ahead-of-its-time storylines that not only made it entertaining, but made it a cultural touchstone.

And as a devotee, I knew the girls were getting older and the day would come that one of them would die, and y’all, I’ve dreaded this day like I dread the day a relative dies. Sure, I don’t know them personally, and yes, it’s “just a TV show,” but it’s so much more to me.

But enough about my feelings, let’s talk about Estelle “Sophia Petrillo” Getty.

Born Estelle Scher in New York in 1923, the diminutive actress didn’t begin her acting career in earnest until the late ’70s/early ’80s when she played the meddling mother in Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy” on Broadway. Shortly after that, she landed the role of Sophia on “The Golden Girls.”

During her time on the show, Getty earned numerous awards including a Golden Globe in 1986 and an Emmy in 1988. This was an especially amazing feat since Getty suffered from severe stage fright (which was only intensified by working with veteran actresses Bea Arthur, Betty White and Rue McClanahan). Getty retired in 2000 due to health concerns, as she suffered from advanced dementia.

I could go on all day about how amazing she was, but I think I’ll leave you with some of my favorite Sophia clips. RIP Estelle Getty, we love you.

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14 responses to “Thank You For Being A Friend

  1. dorothyzbornak

    Also, here’s a really lovely tribute from her website:
    http://www.estellegetty.com/main.html

  2. I really need to buy some of the show DVDs now-just watching a couple of those clips and sigh, it’s so sad. I think Rue is the youngest, right? The rest are in their 80s? It’s just…god what an awful way to die. I hope she has peace now. And I’m not particularly religious. Urgh, between my sore effin mouth (dentist) and PMS and this, I’m really glad I have today off. I can just go take a nap and try not to think.

    Thanks for this lovely post. Reading her bio, she sounds like a wicked cool lady. I love what she told the makeup people at her last audition.

    And Bea issued a statement. Sigh. If Lifetime runs a marathon this week, I’m so there.

  3. dorothyzbornak

    Thanks for letting me know about that lala. Here’s a link to Bea’s statement, via “The Insider”:

    http://www.theinsider.com/news_event/1082422_Update_Bea_Arthur_on_the_loss_of_Golden_Girl_Estelle_Getty?ref=c

  4. Favorite Sophia moment: Her story about her ongoing feud with Mama Celeste.

  5. dorothyzbornak

    I don’t care what anyone says, you know Sophia’s pizza was better than Mama Celeste’s!

  6. Aw….I knew you’d be upset.

  7. Oh, DottyZ. This tribute almost made me cry.

  8. Thank you for such a lovely tribute.

  9. myrtlebeachbum

    I came here first. Fuck CNN, man. They don’t have big love like DottyZ. RIP Estelle.

  10. BowlingForDollars

    DottyZ, so sad for you. It’s such a loss.

    As my mama says, remember the good times and know that she’s happy & safe now.

  11. notaclevername

    She was a really cool lady. I think an actress like Estelle, and a show like Golden Girls, won’t be something we see again.

  12. dorothyzbornak

    Here’s another story from CNN, that includes statements from Bea and Rue McClanahan:

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/TV/07/22/estelle.getty.obit/index.html

  13. So, so sad. She was such a little ray of happiness. A total firecracker. She will be missed.

  14. sorry for your loss, Dotty Z! love the tribute! xoxo

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