Estelle Getty

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Estelle Getty
EstelleGetty2.jpg
Getty at the 41st Primetime Emmy Awards in 1989
BornEstelle Scher
(1923-07-25)July 25, 1923
New York City, New York
DiedJuly 22, 2008(2008-07-22) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California
Other namesEstelle Scher-Gettleman
EducationSeward Park High School
OccupationActress, comedian
Years active1978–2000
TelevisionThe Golden Girls
The Golden Palace
Empty Nest
ReligionJewish
Spouse(s)Arthur Gettleman
(m. 1947–2004; his death)
ChildrenCarl Gettleman
Barry Gettleman
Website
estellegetty.com
 
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Estelle Getty
EstelleGetty2.jpg
Getty at the 41st Primetime Emmy Awards in 1989
BornEstelle Scher
(1923-07-25)July 25, 1923
New York City, New York
DiedJuly 22, 2008(2008-07-22) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California
Other namesEstelle Scher-Gettleman
EducationSeward Park High School
OccupationActress, comedian
Years active1978–2000
TelevisionThe Golden Girls
The Golden Palace
Empty Nest
ReligionJewish
Spouse(s)Arthur Gettleman
(m. 1947–2004; his death)
ChildrenCarl Gettleman
Barry Gettleman
Website
estellegetty.com

Estelle Scher-Gettleman (July 25, 1923 – July 22, 2008),[1] 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.[2]

Early life[edit]

Getty was born Estelle Scher in New York City, the daughter of Sarah and Charles Scher, Polish immigrants of the Jewish faith. They worked in the glass business. She had a sister, Roz, and a brother, David.[3] Getty got her start in the Yiddish theater and also as a comedian in the Catskills borscht belt resorts,[4] and among her most notable stage roles was as Harvey Fierstein's mother in Torch Song Trilogy during its original Broadway run.[5]

Career[edit]

Getty is best known for her role as Sophia Petrillo on the popular 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls.[6] Her character was the wise-cracking Sicilian mother of Dorothy Zbornak, played by Bea Arthur, although Getty was in fact one year younger than Arthur.[7][8] Getty won an Emmy Award in 1988 for Outstanding Supporting Actress.[9]

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).[3] She further capitalized on her success by releasing an exercise video for senior citizens in 1993.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Getty attended Seward Park High School in New York City.[11]

She was married to Arthur Gettleman (whose name she adapted into her stage name) from December 21, 1947 until his death on September 10, 2004.[12] The couple had two sons: Carl Gettleman, who lives in California, and Barry Gettleman, who lives in Florida.[13]

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.[14] 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.[13] 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.[15][16]

In 2003, Lifetime television hosted a Golden Girls reunion. In 2008, the show was awarded the Pop Culture award at the Sixth Annual TV Land Awards. Getty did not participate in either project.

Getty died on July 22, 2008, just three days before her 85th birthday. She is buried and interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills) Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Awards[edit]

Emmy Awards[edit]

Getty at the 1988 Emmy Awards

Golden Globe Awards[edit]

Drama Desk Award[edit]

Golden Raspberry Awards[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1978Team-MatesTeacher
1982TootsieMiddle Aged Woman
1984No Man's LandEurol MillerTelevision movie
1985MaskEvelyn
1985CopacabanaBella SternTelevision movie
1987MannequinMrs. Claire Timkin
1992Stop! Or My Mom Will ShootMrs. Tutti BomowskiRazzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress
1997A Match Made in HeavenBetty WestonTelevision movie
1999Stuart LittleEstelle Little
2000The Million Dollar KidSister Rosanne

Television[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1981NurseSadie MandlerEpisode: "Equal Opportunity"
1982Baker's DozenMrs. LocasaleEpisode: "Dear John"
1984Cagney & LaceyMrs. RosenmeyerEpisode: "Baby Broker"
1984Fantasy IslandMoney LadyEpisode: "The Match Maker"
1984HotelRoberta AbramsEpisode: "Intimate Strangers"
1985NewhartMiriam the LibrarianEpisode: "What Makes Dick Run"
1985–1992The Golden GirlsSophia Petrillo180 episodes
American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Female in a Television Series (1991–92)
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1986–87, 1989–92)
1987RoomiesMamaEpisode: "Mid-Term Fever"
1990CityHelen RutledgeEpisode: "Seems Like Old Times"
1991BlossomSophia PetrilloEpisode: "I Ain't Got No Body"
1992–1993The Golden PalaceSophia Petrillo24 episodes
1993NursesSophia PetrilloEpisode: "Temporary Setbacks"
1993–1995Empty NestSophia Petrillo52 episodes
1996Touched by an AngelDottieEpisode: "The Sky Is Falling"
1996Brotherly LoveMyrna BurwellEpisode: "Motherly Love"
1997Mad About YouPaul's auntEpisode: "The Birth – Part 1"
2000Ladies ManSophia GatesEpisode: "Romance"
2001It's Like, You Know...Estelle GettyEpisode: "Lust for Life"

Live theatre[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hayward, Anthony (July 24, 2008). "Estelle Getty: Matriarch of 'The Golden Girls'". The Independent. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ Carlson, Michael (July 24, 2008). "Obituary: Estelle Getty". theguardian.com. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Estelle Getty Biography (1923-)". Film Reference. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Goodbye Golden Girl: Comic actress Estelle Getty dies at 84". Haaretz. July 23, 2008. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ Simonson, Robery (July 22, 2008). "Estelle Getty, Star of "Golden Girls," Dies at 84". Playbill.com. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ Weber, Bruce (July 23, 2008). "Estelle Getty, 'Golden Girls' Matriarch, Dies at 84". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ Lansden, Pamela (March 31, 1986). "Estelle Getty Zings for Her Supper as Bea Arthur's Zap-Happy Mom on Golden Girls". People.com. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  8. ^ Lawson, Sarah (November 19, 2012). "Great Moments in Age-Inappropriate Casting". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  9. ^ Bernstein, Adam (July 23, 2008). "Estelle Getty, 84; 'Golden Girl' Actress Won an Emmy Award". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  10. ^ Glenn Haas, Jane (December 31, 1993). "Estelle Getty leads a workout for seniors". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ Luther, Claudia (July 23, 2008). "Estelle Getty, 84; 'Golden Girls' actress brought humor, depth to mother roles". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  12. ^ Miller, Stephen (July 23, 2008). "Estelle Getty, 84, 'Golden Girl' Had Avant-Garde Career". The New York Sun. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "Frequently Asked Questions". EstelleGetty.com. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Estelle Getty". Gay Globe Magazine Média TV. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  15. ^ "A 'Golden Girl's Tragic Battle with Dementia". Entertainment Tonight. November 19, 2004. Archived from the original on February 8, 2005. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  16. ^ Fonseca, Nicholas (April 24, 2009). "'Golden Girls': A 20th Anniversary Oral History". Entertainment Weekly. p. 3. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Torch Song Trilogy". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]