Bintel Blog

Estelle Getty, RIP

By Daniel Treiman

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Estelle Getty of “Golden Girls” is no longer with us.

Here’s a tribute from a fan:

From her New York Times obit:

Long before “Golden Girls” Ms. Getty had been portraying maternal types of all sorts on the stage.

“I am the mother,” she declared in her opening line in “Torch Song Trilogy,” Harvey Fierstein’s 1981 play about the travails of a gay man in New York City, and as a summary of her career, her character was right.

“I’ve played mothers to heroes and mothers to zeroes,” Ms. Getty wrote in her autobiography, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now … So What?” (Contemporary Books, 1988). “I’ve played Irish mothers, Jewish mothers, Italian mothers, Southern mothers, mothers in plays by Neil Simon and Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. I’ve played mother to everyone but Attila the Hun.”

Interestingly, Getty was actually younger than Bea Arthur, who played her daughter on “Golden Girls.”

UPDATE: The L.A. Times notes that Getty played the Yiddish theater and the Catskills in her early days.

Ruth Thu. Jul 24, 2008

Thank you for this post! Estelle Getty's roots in Yiddish theater and the Borsch Belt are evident in her dry, hilarious delivery and wry sense of humor. Although her iconic character of Sophia Petrillo was not Jewish on the show, there was an unmistakably Jewish sensibility to Getty's acting (the same can be said for Bea Arthur, so they made a great team). I still enjoy watching the Golden Girls reruns. Getty will be sorely missed.

Yisrael Medad Fri. Jul 25, 2008

And it was my mother-in-law, Shirley Spiegelman, her Bayside neighbor, who helped her break out when she got her involved in community theater, even driving her to the Fresh Meadows Theater.

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