84 (passed away Jul. 22nd, 2008)
Jul. 25th, 1923
New York City, New York, USA
4' 10 1/2
Estelle Getty's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Estelle Getty began her acting career in 1978 with Team-Mates (1978). She also had short roles in two critically acclaimed classics, Tootsie (1982) and Mask (1985). In 1985, Estelle began acting in "The Golden Girls" (1985), with Bea Arthur, Betty White (I), and Rue McClanahan. The successful show won two Emmys for outstanding television series, and Estelle herself won an Emmy in 1988. Among other things she's done in TV is playing Sophia Petrillo in shows several times, "The Golden Palace" (1992) and "Empty Nest" (1988) among them. Most recently, Estelle has been in the family film Stuart Little (1999) and playing "Hollywood Squares" (1998).
- Her nephew Stephen died from AIDS in January 1992 at the age of 29.
- Retired in 2000 after revealing she had health issues. In the mid 1990s, she was misdiagnosed with Parkinson's disease. By the end of the 1990s, she was misdiagnosed again, this time with Alzheimer's disease. Later, she was correctly diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, which has similar symptoms to both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
- Played the same character, Sophia Spirelli Petrillo-Weinstock, on five different TV series: _"The Golden Palace" (1992)_ (qv), _"The Golden Girls" (1985)_ (qv), _"Nurses" (1991)_ (qv), _"Empty Nest" (1988)_ (qv), and _"Blossom" (1991)_ (qv).
- Was nicknamed "Slats" by her Golden Girls costars because of her short height and light weight.
- During a brief reunion in November 2004 with _"The Golden Girls" (1985)_ (qv)'s 'Betty White (I)' (qv), 'Rue McClanahan' (qv), and 'Bea Arthur' (qv), it was reported on TV by the ladies that Estelle was suffering from severe dementia.
- Getty played mother to 'Bea Arthur' (qv) on _"The Golden Girls" (1985)_ (qv), however, Bea is actually 15½ months older than Estelle. Estelle was born on July 25, 1923 and Bea was born on May 13, 1922.
- Passed away only three days before her 85th birthday.
- Getty's career actually began when she was much younger on the 'borscht belt' circuit and Yiddish stage, but she gave it up to raise a family. She returned to acting much later and became a hit on Broadway as 'Harvey Fierstein' (qv)'s meddling mom in "Torch Song Trilogy". It was the L.A. tour of this show that led to her being cast in _"The Golden Girls" (1985)_ (qv) and at age 62 she became an "overnight" TV star.