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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

REMEMBERING ESTELLE GETTY


Few things were certain when I was growing up, but The Golden Girls was one of them. I can remember for some odd reason that I LOVED watching this show; it gave me such a sense of happiness and joy that I can’t explain. I LOVED spending time in the company of these four ladies: Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia, a diminutive Sicilian firebrand who was infamous for her zingers and no BS attitude. The show went on to win four Golden Globes and numerous Emmys, including, for Getty, in 1988, one for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series. Estelle Getty, who suffered from advanced dementia and died today @ the age of 84, wasn't always a sitcom queen. She got her start in Yiddish theater, but didn't break out until 1981, when she played Harvey Fierstein's mother in the Broadway play Torch Song Trilogy. She also had small roles in Tootsie (1982) and Mask (1985). In 1985 she started on The Golden Girls, which was an instant hit and quickly became a staple of NBC's Saturday night lineup. Getty later reprised the role of Sophia on The Golden Girls spinoff The Golden Palace (1992), and played the part of Grandma Estelle Little in the film Stuart Little (1999). Each of Getty's former Golden Girls co-stars reflected on 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." Bea Arthur said in a statement, "Our mother-daughter relationship was one of the greatest comic duos ever, and I will miss her." Betty White remarked, "The only comfort at this moment is that although Estelle has moved on, Sophia will always be with us."In honor of Estelle, Lifetime TV, which airs The Golden Girls, announced that it will air ten episodes of the series featuring the best of Sophia on Friday, July 25. Fans can vote for their favorite episode on Lifetime's website. The winning episode will be aired last in the marathon.

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