R.I.P. Estelle Getty
- July 22, 2008 3:03 PM |
- By Arts Online
From left, actresses Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur and Betty White, from the television series The Golden Girls, in 1985. (Nick Ut/Associated Press)
Picture it: Los Angeles, 2008. A lovely woman who became famous for playing a deadpan, acid-tongued senior, adopted by millions as their imaginary grandmother, quietly passes away. It breaks my heart to say this, but earlier today it was announced that Estelle Getty, best known for playing the wickedly crochety Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls, died at her Hollywood Boulevard home. She was just three days short of her 85th birthday.
I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Getty. In some ways, I credit her with helping cultivate my appreciation of camp, since her po-faced granny was such a tough, queeny caricature. (Somehow, the image of Sophia toting her handbag everywhere, even while wearing PJs, never fails to make me snort.) And though she played a prickly character, Getty was a wonderfully open and generous soul by all accounts (believe me: I've read Rue McClanahan's autobiography twice), even taking on caregiving responsibilities when her HIV-positive nephew had nowhere else to turn. I will tell a meandering yarn and eat some lasagna on a palatial lanai in your memory, little lady.
In the meantime, gaze upon some of Getty's finest moments from the first season of Golden Girls. Admittedly, Season One was a bit shaky -- both the writers and actors were struggling to establish strong characters, and the series didn't really hit its stride till Season Two -- but it's a fine reflection of her comedic talents.
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