Deaths | News | Television

Thank You for Being a Friend, Estelle Getty

Estelle Getty, source of many a laugh over the years as Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls died early this morning at the age of 84 at her home in the Hollywood Hills:

Sophia"Getty, who suffered from advanced dementia, died around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at her Hollywood Boulevard home, said her son, Carl Gettleman of Santa Monica. Getty won an Emmy Award in 1988 for her portrayal of the feisty octogenarian. For her role as Sophia, Getty also notched a Golden Globe Award in 1986. She also received an American Comedy Award...She was a vocal supporter of gay rights and active in fundraising for AIDS research. She retired in 2000 after revealing she was suffering from Parkinson's disease. Two years later, she announced she was suffering from Alzheimer's disease."

Bea Arthur told Us magazine: "Our mother-daughter relationship was one of the greatest comic duos ever, and I will miss her."

Betty White also remembered her co-star: "The only comfort at this moment is that although Estelle has moved on, Sophia will always be with us."

Said Rue McClanahan: "Estelle always wanted to be an actress, and she achieved that goal beyond her dreams. "Don't feel sad about her passing. She will always be with us in her crowning achievement, Sophia."

See a few of those Sophia moments, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Great clips, horrible editing, horrible music.

    Now I'll go watch her in Mannequin.

    Posted by: wwfmike | Jul 22, 2008 4:56:24 PM

  2. Sad. But I really thought she was at least 100 by now.

    Posted by: Jason | Jul 22, 2008 5:02:25 PM

  3. She was the best!

    Posted by: Aman Chaudhary | Jul 22, 2008 5:03:51 PM

  4. Very sad. I love her!

    Posted by: crispy | Jul 22, 2008 5:06:23 PM

  5. We loved you Estelle!

    Posted by: jmg | Jul 22, 2008 5:19:25 PM

  6. "Shady Pines, Ma."


    Posted by: JeffRob | Jul 22, 2008 5:20:43 PM

  7. Jason: magic of TV. She was actually a year _younger_ than Bea Arthur.

    Posted by: scott | Jul 22, 2008 5:27:11 PM

  8. Actually she was younger than both Bea Arthur and Betty White. Rue is the youngest by about 11 years.

    We'll miss you will always be one of the best character from sitcom history!

    Posted by: Banne | Jul 22, 2008 5:34:41 PM

  9. She got the "Golden Girls" role after producers saw her on Broadway in "Torch Song Trilogy" as Harvey Fierstein's pushy mother [the role smothered to death by Anne Bancroft in the film version].

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jul 22, 2008 5:39:48 PM

  10. Michael, ha ha, I thought the same thing regarding Anne, too bad Estelle could not reprise her role on the big screen but she was not a "name" at the time. Too bad I never saw her live in that role.

    Posted by: davefromtampa | Jul 22, 2008 6:02:18 PM

  11. Picture it,Sicily 1941....
    Thankyou for making us laugh.
    Golden Girls friday nights at the Midnight Shift,Sydney back in the 80's.Great times!

    Posted by: John | Jul 22, 2008 6:22:00 PM

  12. That's such a long time for her and her family to suffer from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. RIP.

    Posted by: Andre | Jul 22, 2008 6:23:21 PM

  13. That's such a long time for her and her family to suffer from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. RIP.

    Posted by: Andre | Jul 22, 2008 6:24:12 PM

  14. I was heartbroken when it was announced she had retired because of medical problems. Estelle had been a true friend of the gay community and of course, a brilliant character actress.

    May she rest in peace.

    Posted by: sparks | Jul 22, 2008 6:31:04 PM

  15. she was awesome. im sad

    Posted by: KFLO | Jul 22, 2008 6:33:48 PM

  16. The Golden Girls was a classic of American comedy, and Estelle was just marvelous.

    Desperately sad to hear that she had both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, both such cruel diseases.My sympathy to her family and friends. RIP Estelle.

    Posted by: SeanR | Jul 22, 2008 6:41:20 PM

  17. She was a major contributor to the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Jeffrey Goodman Clinic, which provides free HIV/AIDS care. Her name is on the wall in the waiting room. A great humanitarian, a great human. We'll miss you.

    Posted by: Nick Patrillo | Jul 22, 2008 6:49:20 PM

  18. Hey Sophia...I'm watching an episode of GG :) One of the few shows that makes me laugh on and on, it always feels new, like its the first time im witnessing this show.


    Posted by: Bosie | Jul 22, 2008 7:11:40 PM

  19. We'll miss you, Sophia. thanks for the many, many laughs you gave my family and me. RIP.

    Posted by: Max | Jul 22, 2008 9:23:55 PM

  20. I'm so bummed. I watch the Golden Girls everyday still. Her role of Sofia is the glue that bonded the show together.

    Ok, all you guys, youtube the episode of Golden Girls where Roses' friend is a lesbian. Estelle/Sofia gives the best reaction ever when Blanche asks "wasn't Danny Thomas one?"

    Ok, total queen moment. Everybdy, whats your favorite Sofia scene?

    Posted by: thevegasstyleguy | Jul 22, 2008 9:32:07 PM

  21. The world is missing another icon.

    Posted by: PhillyScott | Jul 22, 2008 10:41:28 PM

  22. Sophia and The Golden Girls makes me miss my grandmothers. It was such a great show.

    You were so great, Estelle!
    Rest in peace.

    Posted by: Chad | Jul 22, 2008 11:25:11 PM

  23. When I first met my partner, he was adamant that we could not go out on Saturday night until we watched Golden Girls.
    I soon realized how many gay men could assume to role of Blanche, Rose or Dorothy. But there was never a Sophia! She was one of a kind and will never be duplicated.

    Posted by: DKNATL | Jul 22, 2008 11:26:13 PM

  24. Thank you for being a friend,
    Travelled down the road and back again,
    Your heart is true,
    You're a pal and a confidante.

    And if you threw a party,
    Invited everyone you knew,
    You would see
    The biggest gift would be from me,
    And the card attached would say
    "Thankyou for being a friend"

    Posted by: jason | Jul 22, 2008 11:57:04 PM

  25. The show was something of a guilty pleasure.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 23, 2008 12:15:36 AM

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