Estelle Getty, best known as Sophia Petrillo, the wise-cracking old Sicilian mother of Dorothy Zbornak (Beatrice Arthur) on The Golden Girls, has passed away yesterday at 5:35am three days before her 85th birthday, after suffering from Lewy Body dementia for years.  She was 84 and is survived by her two sons, Carl and Barry Gettleman.

“Our mother-daughter relationship was one of the greatest comic duos ever, and I will miss her,” Arthur said in a statement.

The unfortunate news of the Golden Girls actress’ departure was posted on her official website where it was revealed that she went gracefully, in the comfort of her own home in Los Angeles, surrounded by her family and her care-givers.

“She was loved throughout the world in six continents, and if they loved sitcoms in Antarctica she would have been loved on seven continents,” her son Carl said.  “She was one of the most talented comedic actresses who ever lived.”

“The only comfort at this moment is that although Estelle has moved on, Sophia will always be with us,” Golden Girls co-star Betty White said in an e-mail to The Associated Press after Getty’s death was announced.

During her stint on The Golden Girls, Getty was recognized by various award-giving bodies for her witty portrayal of Sophia.  She eventually won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 1986, which was followed by her acquisition of an Emmy in 1988 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, her first win out of seven Emmy nods.

Getty continued to play Sophia in numerous crossovers including Blossom, Empty Nest, The Golden Palace, and Nurses.  On the big screen, she had roles in Tootsie, Mask, Mannequin, Stuart Little and opposite Sylvester Stallone in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

Toward the end of her career, Getty wrote an autobiography, with Steve Delsohn, entitled If I Knew Then, What I Know Now… So What?

-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

Source: The Associated Press,
(Image courtesy of


Kris De Leon

Staff Writer, BuddyTV