Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Estelle Getty, 1923-2008. R.I.P.

I just read on foxnews.com that actress Estelle Getty died this morning after a lengthy bout with dementia which kept her out of the public eye most of this decade. She passed away three days shy of her 85th birthday.

Getty is best known for her work on the NBC TV series The Golden Girls which aired from 1985 through 1992 where she played Sophia Petrillo, the mother of Dorothy Zbornak played by Bea Arthur. She would reprise her role on the short lived CBS spin off Golden Palace (1992-93) and during the final two seasons of the NBC sitcom Empty Nest (1993-94 & 1994-95).

Although The Golden Girls still airs in syndication I must admit I have not watched it in years. However, I do remember watching it during the 1980s and my father particularly liking Getty's character. He noted that because of her age she (and to a lesser extent her co-stars) could get away with saying things that perhaps network censors would not let a younger character utter.

Years later I had the opportunity on a couple of occasions to meet Andrew K. Stone, who was a writer on the show. I shared my father's observations about the show and admitted he had not thought it about it that way but was intrigued nonetheless.

Anyway, I'm sure the Lifetime Channel, which airs The Golden Girls in syndication, will probably have some kind of tribute to Getty in which case I'll probably take in an episode or two.

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