Best Known For
Estelle Getty played Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls, and was one of television’s most popular comedic actresses of the 1980s.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
For decades, Estelle Getty performed in Yiddish theaters, off Broadway shows, and touring productions. In the 1980s, she had a career breakthrough in Torch Song Trilogy. She also made a few TV guest appearances on such shows as Cagney & Lacey and Newhart. In 1995 she was in the film Mask. That same year, she took a role on The Golden Girls. She retired from acting in 2000 for health reasons.
Actress. Born Estelle Scher on July 25, 1923, in New York, New York. As the sarcastic, crabby scene stealer Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls, Estelle Getty became one of television's most popular comedic actresses of the 1980s. Growing up New York City's Lower East Side, she first dreamed of becoming an actress as a child.
While working as a waitress in the Catskills, Getty tried her hand at stand-up comedy but found the audiences unreceptive to a female comic. She later took a job as a secretary while trying to find work as an actor. In 1947, Getty married Arthur Gettleman, and they had two sons, Barry and Carl. She took a few years off to be with her children before resuming her passion for acting.
For decades, Getty performed in Yiddish theaters, off Broadway shows, and touring productions. In the 1980s, she had a career breakthrough playing a Jewish mother with traditional values who learns that her son played by Harvey Fierstein in Torch Song Trilogy, which he also wrote. Her performance earned her a Drama Desk Award nomination in 1982. Around this time, Getty also made a few television guest appearances on such shows as Cagney & Lacey, Hotel, and Newhart.
Again taking a maternal part, Getty played Cher's mother in the drama Mask (1985), one of her first substantial film roles. That same year, she took the country by storm as the small and sassy Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls. In the show, she played Bea Arthur's mother, even though they were very close in age. Getty wore a wig and learned to carry herself as an older person. She was so convincing that people were often shocked to learn that she was really in her sixties, not her eighties.
Also co-starring Betty White and Rue McClannan, The Golden Girls broke new comedic ground, proving that audiences would tune in to see a show about mature women. All of the lead actresses were skilled performers with excellent comedic timing, but Getty often got the biggest laugh with her character's sharp dialogue. Sophia Petrillo was such a hit that the character even appeared on other shows, such as Blossom and Empty Nest. For her portrayal of Sophia, Getty was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series seven times and won it once in 1988.
profile name: Estelle Getty profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Famous Leos 558 people in this group
Famous Actresses 684 people in this group
Without a doubt, the roles that women have taken on throughout the history of film has evolved dramatically. Film actresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood fought tooth and nail to attain the same respect as their male counterparts. And slowly, over time, we've seen women take on powerful and complex lead roles in blockbusters, comedies, dramas and everything in between, thanks to the work of leading ladies like Hattie McDaniel, Audrey Hepburn and Ava Gardner. Browse through the women who have changed film history.
Famous Film Actresses 431 people in this group