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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

TV: Estelle Getty, Salty Irascable Golden Girl, Dies

An Appreciation by Noah Mallin

Estelle Getty, who donned a white wig to play Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls in the 1980s and practically stole the show from her three better known castmates, has died. Getty portrayed the mother of Bea Arthur's character though in real life Arthur was actually older. Getty's broad zinger fueled performance netted her seven Emmy noms and one win. In the long years before her Golden Girls success and her initial Broadway stardom in her 60s, she worked as a secretary to make ends meet. Getty has the distinction in starring in one of my prize Thanksgiving turkeys from last year with Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

The Golden Girls
which in re-runs is one of the only watchable things on Lifetime was a proto- Sex in The City with frank talk about sex, relationships, and aging from a women's perspective. Getty, who was integral to what made the show so funny was a genuine TV pioneer.

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