Who is Estelle Getty?
Estelle Getty, who took the stage as Sophia Petrillo on “The Golden Girls” from 1985 to 1992, was an American actress and comedian who was born Estelle Gettleman on July 25, 1923. She was an accomplished actress who tragically died in 2008 from Lewy body dementia.
Estelle Getty bio
Estelle Scher was born in New York City on July 25, 1923, to Jewish immigrants from Poland, Charles Scher and Sarah, in the family’s apartment at 257 East 2nd Street on the Lower East Side, which also served as the storefront for the family’s glass manufacturing business.
Estelle Getty siblings
She had a brother named Samuel “David” Scher and a sister named Rosilyn “Roz” Scher Howard.
Estelle Getty career
Getty battled to be recognized for her ability despite years of success in the New York theater scene while also working a job and caring for her two sons. As Mrs. Beckoff in the Broadway production of Torch Song Trilogy, a role that author Harvey Fierstein had developed especially for her, she finally landed her breakthrough role in 1982, as she was getting close to 60 years old.
She garnered a lot of attention for her performance in the play and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. She then played the part again for four years in both Broadway and off-Broadway versions. The part had a significant impact on Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions’ decision to cast Getty in the new NBC sitcom The Golden Girls as Sophia Petrillo in 1985.
Getty used wigs, clothes, and a lot of cosmetics to make herself appear older and more like a mother in her 80s. She was actually a year younger than Bea Arthur, who portrayed Dorothy Zbornak on television.
For her participation on the program, Getty received her most prestigious honor in 1988: the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
After seven seasons, The Golden Girls came to an end in 1992 due to Arthur’s desire to work on new projects (six of the seven seasons ranked in the top 10 of the Nielsen ratings).
Getty, McClanahan, and White acted in The Golden Palace, the show’s spin-off, for one season until it was canceled that autumn. Getty then made appearances in the films The Nanny, Empty Nest, Nurses, Blossom, Touched by an Angel, and Mad About You.
Prior to and during the filming of The Golden Girls, she made other appearances on television and in movies, including those in the films Tootsie and Mask, the TV shows Fantasy Island and Cagney & Lacey, and a lead role in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.
With the assistance of Steve Delsohn and while working on The Golden Girls, Getty penned her autobiography, If I Knew Then, What I Know Now… So What?, which was released by Contemporary Books in 1988. In 1993, she also made a senior citizen workout video.
Estelle Getty net worth
Estelle Getty was an American actress and comedian who had a net worth of $8 million at the time of her death. Estelle Getty was best known for playing Sophia Petrillo on the television sitcom “The Golden Girls.”
Estelle Getty marriage
At a gathering, Getty’s friends from the New York theater scene introduced her to Arthur Gettleman, whose last name she later adopted as the inspiration for her stage name. Nine months later, on December 21, 1947, the two got hitched. Carl and Barry Gettleman were their two sons, and they were married until his passing on September 24, 2004, at the age of 85.
Following their marriage, the couple briefly resided in the Bronx before relocating to Oakland Gardens, Queens, where Arthur assisted his father-in-law with glass installation while living in Bell Park Gardens, a liberal-minded cooperative built for Jewish World War II veterans.
Between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, the two spent some time living apart as Arthur continued to work in the family glass company in New York while Getty relocated to California to work on The Golden Girls.
Estelle Getty death
Getty, 84, passed away at her Los Angeles home in the wee hours of July 22, 2008, from Lewy Body Dementia, according to her family. With the words “With Love and Laughter” and a Star of David to signify her Jewish faith, she was laid to rest in Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Her Golden Girls co-stars Bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan were heartbroken by her passing and revealed in an interview that her illness had advanced to the point where she could no longer recognize them or carry on a conversation with them.
Despite having worked in theater for more than three decades, she reportedly started to display dementia during the television series’ filming when, in later seasons of the show, she had to rely on cue cards because she was having trouble remembering her lines. In addition to having osteoporosis, Getty was suspected of having Parkinson’s disease. In the end, the diagnosis was modified to dementia with Lewy bodies.