Even though I too young to watch “Golden Girls” when it originally aired (1985-1992), I’ve seen every episode of the show at least ten times on Lifetime re-runs during college. Since I attended an all-women’s college, the show was also popular among the students and faculty, even getting a few mentions in the college newspaper. The highlight of college meets “Golden Girls” was when a few friends and I did a scene from the show for one of our oral presentation classes. I was Blanche.
It’s always been hard for me to pick a fave out of the fab four because each character is so unique. However, who could deny the charm of Sophia Petrillo, Dorothy’s feisty mother? Ah, Sophia was great telling stories about Sicily (“Picture it, Sicily 1942…”), jabbing insults at the other ladies (especially Blanche), and making Dorothy miserable for putting her in the retirement home called Shady Pines (as well as for marrying that big botchagaloop, Stanley). Sophia was played by character actress, Estelle Getty, whose death was announced earlier today.
Estelle Getty, just under five feet, spent 40 years trying to land her big break in the business and finally did so when she got the role of Sophia on “Golden Girls” in 1985. Estelle was in her early 60’s when her true came true, and even won two Emmy’s for her role.
Learning about how hard Estelle fought to keep her dream alive–working bit jobs to pay the bills–inspires me. Not only was she an exceptional actress on-screen, it seems like she was a spunky woman with a lot of heart off-screen as well.
Thank you for being a friend, Estelle, and for making us laugh like “howler monkeys.”