23 Jul 2008

Death of "Golden Girls" star

8:06 am on 23 July 2008

Emmy-winning actress Estelle Getty, who became famous as a wise-cracking octogenarian in a popular TV sitcom, has died in Hollywood. She was 84.

Getty played Sophia Petrillo in the 1980s and '90s sitcom The Golden Girls.

The series was about four female retirees living together. Getty played a sassy, 80-year-old mother.

Born in New York City in 1923, Getty wanted to be an entertainer from an early age, despite her small size and the initial objections of her Polish immigrant parents.

She got her start as a comic at resorts in the Catskill mountains and worked in regional theater and off-Broadway productions. A breakthrough role in a production of Torch Song Trilogy ultimately brought her to the attention of Hollywood.

In a statement her manager said she died in her sleep from natural causes. She had been suffering from dementia.

Getty won two Emmys for her role as Sophia Petrillo.