Photo of Estelle Getty Estelle Getty

Born Estelle Scher in New York City on July 25, 1923, Estelle Getty dabbled in theater and stand-up comedy, yet didn't truly launch her acting career until she was nearly 60, landing a high-profile role on Broadway as Harvey Fierstein's mother in "Torch Song Trilogy" (1982).

But it was playing Bea Arthur's sassy Sicilian mother on "The Golden Girls" (1985-92) that would make the best use of Getty's comedic talents -- even though, at the time, the 62-year-old actress was younger than her television daughter. As Sophia Petrillo, Getty stole countless scenes and received widespread critical acclaim, winning an Emmy, a Golden Globe and two American Comedy Awards.

Her film résumé includes supporting roles in Tootsie (1982), Mask (1985), Mannequin (1987) and Stuart Little (1999). Getty died just days before her 85th birthday on July 22, 2008.

Estelle Getty in Mask: Director's Cut

Mask: Director's Cut

1985 NR

This extraordinary film is based on the real-life story of Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz), a teenager disfigured by craniodiaphyseal dysplasia. With the help of his mother Rusty's (Cher) love and fierce determination, Rocky overcomes pain, loneliness and prejudice. As his face becomes more and more mask-like, he ultimately becomes an inspiration to his classmates and teachers. Peter Bogdanovich directs, and Sam Elliott co-stars.

  • Estelle Getty in Stuart Little Stuart Little
  • Estelle Getty in The Golden Girls The Golden Girls
  • Estelle Getty in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
  • Estelle Getty in The Mad About You Collection The Mad About You Collection