Monday, July 22, 2013

Remembering Estelle Getty July 25, 1923 - July 22, 2008

The "Golden Girls" was a popular sitcom that aired from September 13, 1985 until May 9, 1992 and was centered around four older women sharing a home in Miami, Florida.  An American actress by the name of Estelle Getty played the part of (Sophia Petrillo) the mother of Dorothy (Bea Arthur) in the hysterical series.  Interestingly, in real life, Bea was one year older than Estelle. Estelle also acted in film and theatre as well as television. 

Estelle won an Emmy and Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the sitcom. During her stint on the Golden Girls, Getty wrote her autobiography titled "If I Knew Then, What I Know Now...So What? " She also used her successful career to launch an exercise video for senior citizens in 1993. 

Estelle was born Estelle Scher and was the daughter of  Jewish immigrants who worked in the glass business.  She got her start in the Yiddish Theater and then a comedienne in the Catskills borscht belt resorts and was first recognized for her role as Harvey Fierstein's mother in: Torch Song Trilogy" on Broadway.

When the Golden Girls ended, Estelle played roles in "The Golden Palace" from 1992-93 and "Empty Nest" from 1993-95.

Over the years, Getty could be seen in various roles including films like "Tootsie"and "Stuart Little" to her role as Cher's mother in "Mask".  She also played Bella Stern in "Copacabana" and "Stop!Or My Mother Will Shoot You."  On television, other appearances include Cagney & Lacy, Newhart, and Fantasy Island.

In 2000, Getty stopped making public appearances when she revealed she suffered from Parkinson's Disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimers Disease.  Doctors later discovered that she had neither of these diseases but rather suffered from a disease known as Lewy body dementia.

Estelle Getty died on July 22, 2008 in her Hollywood Boulevard home three days prior to her 85th birthday.

A great deal negative publicity took place when it was revealed that none of the other Golden Girls attended her funeral service at Hollywood Forever Chapel in Los Angeles.  Getty was laid to rest in the Jewish section of Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

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