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Estelle Getty played Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls, and was one of television’s most popular comedic actresses of the 1980s.
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During the run of the show, Getty found time for other projects, but none were as successful. She appeared with Andrew McCarthy in the comedy Mannequin (1987). Getty later co-starred with Sylvester Stallone in the box office bomb, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992),
playing the titular mother.
After The Golden Girls ended in 1992, some of the show's characters were featured on The Golden Palace. In this new version, Getty's character, along with McClannan's and White's, buy a Miami hotel together. The show suffered from the absence of Bea Arthur and lacked the magic of the original. It only lasted one season.
Continuing to work, Getty appeared on such shows as Touched by an Angel and Mad About You. One of her later roles was Grandma Estelle Little in the popular children's film Stuart Little (1999). She retired from acting in 2000 for health reasons. Originally thought to have Parkinson's disease, Getty was later diagnosed with a form of dementia. With some assistance, she lived at her home in Los Angeles for many years until her death at age 84. She died of natural causes on the morning of July 22, 2008, surrounded by family and friends.
At the time of her death, several of her former co-stars expressed their sadness over Getty's passing. "Our mother-daughter relationship was one of the greatest comic duos ever, and I will miss her," Bea Arthur said, according to US magazine. "The only comfort at this moment is that although Estelle has moved on, Sophia will always be with us," Betty White told US.
Getty is survived by her two sons. Her son Carl told People magazine that his mother "was loved throughout the world. . . . She was one of the most talented comedic actresses who ever lived."
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