Getty at the 41st annual Primetime Emmy Awards in 1989
July 25, 1923
New York City, New York
|Died||July 22, 2008
Los Angeles, California
|Other names||Estelle Scher-Gettleman|
|Education||Seward Park High School|
|Television||The Golden Girls,
The Golden Palace,
(m.1947–2004; his death)
|Children||Carl Gettleman (son)
Barry Gettleman (son)
Estelle Scher-Gettleman (July 25, 1923 – July 22, 2008), better known by her stage name Estelle Getty, was an American actress, who appeared in film, television, and theatre. She was best known for her role as Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls from 1985 to 1992, which won her an Emmy and a Golden Globe, on The Golden Palace from 1992 to 1993 and on Empty Nest from 1993 to 1995. In her later years, after retiring from acting, she battled Lewy body dementia.
Early life 
Getty was born Estelle Scher in New York City, the daughter of Sarah and Charles Scher, Jewish immigrants from the Galicia region of Eastern Europe who worked in the glass business. She had a sister, Roz, and a brother, David. Getty got her start in the Yiddish theater and also as a comedienne in the Catskills borscht belt resorts, and among her most notable stage roles was as Harvey Fierstein's mother in Torch Song Trilogy during its original Broadway run.
Getty is best known for her role as Sophia Petrillo on the popular 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls. Her character was the wise-cracking Sicilian mother of Dorothy Zbornak, played by Bea Arthur. In real life, Getty was in fact one year younger than Arthur. Getty won an Emmy Award in 1988 for Outstanding Supporting Actress.
During her time on The Golden Girls Getty wrote an autobiography with Steve Delsohn entitled If I Knew Then, What I Know Now... So What? (Contemporary Books, 1988). She further capitalized on her success by releasing an exercise video for senior citizens in 1993.
Personal life 
She attended Seward Park High School. Getty was married to Arthur Gettleman (whose name she adapted into her stage name) from December 21, 1947 until his death in 2004. Getty had two sons: Carl Gettleman, who lives in California, and Barry Gettleman, who lives in Florida.
In 1991, as later reported in Star magazine, Getty helped to nurse her 29-year-old nephew Steven Scher, who was near death and suffering from the final stages of AIDS. Because Scher's parents lived in England and his friends were no longer able to care for him in Greensboro, North Carolina, Getty had him flown to California and admitted to hospice care. He died in January 1992. Getty was a supporter of gay rights.
In 2000, Getty stopped making public appearances after revealing she had Parkinson's disease and osteoporosis. In 2002, media reports claimed she was also suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Doctors later discovered she actually had Lewy body dementia; both the Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diagnoses were incorrect. Cast members attempted to talk to her on the phone or in person, but found that she couldn't remember them, or anything about the show. Bea Arthur said that even during production of the series, Getty had so much trouble remembering her lines that they should have known something was wrong from the beginning.
|Wikinews has related news: American actress Estelle Getty dead at age 84|
Estelle Getty was buried in the Plains of Abraham (formerly Section 14) Jewish section, of Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA. She is interred near other entertainment notables like actors Paul Muni, Lester Allen, Felix Bressart, former German filmmakers Joe & Mia May (Mandel), and 007 co-screenwriter Richard W. Maibaum. On August 1, 2009, Estelle's tombstone was installed.
Getty's Golden Girls co-stars reflected upon her death; Rue McClanahan told the Associated Press, "Don't feel sad about her passing. She will always be with us in her crowning achievement, Sophia." Betty White remarked, "The only comfort at this moment is that although Estelle has moved on, Sophia will always be with us." Bea Arthur said in a statement, "Our mother-daughter relationship was one of the greatest comic duos ever and I will miss her." Arthur herself died of cancer less than a year after Getty on April 25, 2009, and on June 3, 2010 Rue McClanahan died of a stroke.
In honor of Getty, Lifetime TV, which aired reruns of The Golden Girls at the time, aired ten episodes of the series featuring the best of Sophia on Friday, July 25, 2008, her birthday. Fans voted for their favorite episode on Lifetime's website. The episode "Old Friends" received the most votes and was aired last during the marathon.
Emmy Awards 
- 1986 – Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – (Nominated)
- 1987 – Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – (Nominated)
- 1988 – Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – (Won)
- 1989 – Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – (Nominated)
- 1990 – Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – (Nominated)
- 1991 – Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – (Nominated)
- 1992 – Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – (Nominated)
Golden Globe Awards 
- 1985 – Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – (Won)
- 1986 – Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – (Nominated)
- 1991 – Actress in a Supporting Role – Series, Mini-Series or Television Movie – The Golden Girls – (Nominated)
Drama Desk Award 
- 1982 - Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play - Torch Song Trilogy – (Nominated)
Golden Raspberry Awards 
- 1992 – Worst Supporting Actress - Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (Won)
|1982||Tootsie||Middle Aged Woman|
|1987||Mannequin||Mrs. Claire Timkin|
|1992||Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot||Mrs. Tutti Bomowski|
|1999||Stuart Little||Estelle Little||Character was George's grandmother and Frederick's mother|
|1982||Baker's Dozen||Mrs. Locasale||1 episode|
|1984||Cagney & Lacey||1 episode|
|Fantasy Island||Money Lady||1 episode|
|No Man's Land||Eurol Miller||Television pilot|
|Hotel||Roberta Abrams||1 episode|
|1985||Newhart||Miriam the Librarian||1 episode|
|Copacabana||Bella Stern||Made-for-television musical film|
|1990||City||Helen Rutledge||1 episode|
|1985–1992||The Golden Girls||Sophia Petrillo||Main cast (Seasons 1–7; 180 episodes)|
|1992–1993||The Golden Palace||Main cast (Season 1; 24 episodes)|
|1993–1995||Empty Nest||Main cast (Seasons 6–7; 52 episodes)|
|1996||Touched by an Angel||Dottie||1 episode|
|1997||A Match Made in Heaven||Betty Weston||Made-for-television film|
|2000||Ladies Man||Sophia Gates|
Live theatre 
- Estelle Getty Biography (1923–)
- "F.A.Q.". EstelleGetty.com. Retrieved 2010-11-15.
- Estelle Getty
- 'Associated Press News Report'
- A 'Golden Girls Tragic Battle with Dementia, from ET Television, webpage found at archive.org 2009-01-12.
- "'Golden Girl' Estelle Getty Dead at 84". KTLA. 2008-07-22. Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
- "Golden Girls' actress Estelle Getty dies at 84". CNN. 2008-07-22. Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
- Yahoo Entertainment Report: Getty Dies at 84[dead link]
- IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Estelle Getty|
- Estelle Getty at the Internet Movie Database
- Estelle Getty at the Internet Broadway Database
- Estelle Getty at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Estelle Getty Memorial
- Official Estelle Getty website
- "Estelle Getty: Maverick Mother & TV Trailblazer", 1995 interview
- "Estelle Getty, Actress, Dies at 84", Associated Press via The New York Times, July 22, 2008, filed at 4:34 p.m. ET
- Estelle Getty at Find a Grave
- Estelle Getty - Obituary and public tribute