Estelle Getty 2000 Intimate Portrait

– Morning Sophia. What are you doing? – I’m levitating Rose, get lost! (Laughs) – In the 1980s, millions of people made an appointment to stay home Saturday
nights and spend it with Estelle Getty. – Just a little depressed. – She’s one of the reasons for the success of the show with young people. I think they get such a kick out of little Estelle telling big Bea off and knuckles under her and everything. I think that’s part of the success. – After a 40-year career in show business
she finally became one of television’s
hottest stars. – The kids adored her everybody adored her. – Growing up in New York City, Estelle dreamed of Broadway stardom. – It wasn’t the most respectful thing to do at the Lower East Side. Gangsters were welcomed, actors were not. – But it took twenty years on stage before the right part came along. – I knew that if I put the right lines in
her mouth, she could rip their hearts out. – The Broadway success was tempered by the prolonged and painful deaths of family and friends. – She embraced the gay community and people with AIDS in a way that at the
time few celebrities chose to do. – Now an elusive disease has diminished her ability to enjoy her professional triumphs. – We have attempted to treat Estelle with
various medications that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease. – I was always very movable and active and going and coming and doing and to lose
any part of my freedom so late in life is almost devastating. – But Estelle still finds her rewards through the smiles on the faces of her countless fans. – When people see me on the street, the first question they ask me is, how’s the old lady? How’s Sophia? Oh she was my favorite. – I’m Valerie Harper and this is an
intimate portrait of my friend, Golden Girl, Estelle Getty. ♫ Music ♫ – Hi Ma, where are you going? – Down to the boardwalk, I like sit and watch the old guys rearrange themselves when they come out of the water. (Laughs) – She’s feisty quick-witted and always
sharp with a comeback. – Would you like a ride? – No I want to do cartwheels for six miles. Get your keys lets roll. – Estelle Getty shares many of the same traits with her famous character, Sophia Petrillo, from the popular television comedy, The
Golden Girls. But Estelle’s more than just a source of
one-liners. Her affinity for others has proven that
her heart is as big as her sense of humour. – It’s always strange to meet someone that
you like a lot before you know them. You know somebody like Estelle who I admired her work for so long and then
to get to know her and to have her personality and her heart far exceed your expectation is very fulfilling because oftentimes in show business the opposite
is true. – People adore your mother. For me she’s my mom, Okay? And she will always be Estelle Gettleman Barry Gettleman’s mother, and I’ve always
related to her that way and no matter what a success I was also
somebody who grounded her in the fact that you’re my mom. All of a sudden she will smile and say of course, you’re my baby. – It’s not just that she
believed in her dream and made it come true That happened that she had her marriage, raised her children, and then was able to take this dream that had been sitting in
the drawer and it was finally time for Estelle to
have her dream, and to have that dream so much bigger than she could have ever dreamed that
dream could be. – On July 25th, 1923, the Lower East Side of
Manhattan was abuzz with hundreds of thousands of new immigrants from all over Europe. And on that day, Sarah and Charles Scher both Jewish immigrants from Poland celebrated the birth of their new baby
girl, Estelle. – She was born at home and they called her Estelle. At that time I couldn’t pronounce her name I called her Etty and to this day I still introduce her as Etty. – The building the Scher family lived in served two purposes. It housed the glass shop which Estelle’s
father owned and the family’s apartment which was located in the back of the store. – My father had a store and his
business was putting glass into automobiles or trucks. – He was very respected because having your own business was a very big thing in those days. It showed that you were doing okay. – Back at the store, there was a big
kitchen where my mother cooked. We came home from school. We did our homework there. We ate our dinner there and then we had an apartment. We go upstairs and that’s where we slept. – One luxury Charles Scher afforded his
family was frequent trips to the local theater. – Every Friday night after my father’s last job, we would all
go to the Academy of Music which is on 14th street. And we’ll see a movie and live entertainment. – And they had five acts of a singer, a dancer, a skating star Anything that would take somebody’s mind off their troubles. I saw all these wonderful people coming up singing and dancing and doing all these things and I thought, that’s it. That’s where I belong. – Estelle was excited about becoming an
actress but not everyone was thrilled with the
idea. My father I remember once saying, you’re so beautiful you think you can be an actress? Which was his way of telling me to forget it. – She never thought she was pretty and she
decided that she better be funny so that she could get friends and be on the winning team. – After graduating high school, Estelle continued to live at home with
her parents. She was expected to find a job but she had a burning desire to be an actress. – People used to ask my parents, so what’s
going to be with her? and my father said it’s a phase she’s going through. She’ll be alright. – They were a little bit nervous about
that it wasn’t the most repectful thing to do on the Lower East Side. Gangsters were welcomed, actors were not. – So she compromised, she found secretarial work which would
allow her to leave early to audition for plays. – I was an actress I was a secretary and I
was anything else anybody wanted me to be for money. That was the beginning of where I was
gonna lead my life and that was okay for me. -During her twenties, Estelle appeared in small plays
throughout New York City. – Really bothered my parents a lot they
thought there was something wrong with a girl who will come home from being in lower New York 11:30 at night, but I did and by that time I was already doing plays. In 1949, Estelle was at a party with her theater friends and was taken aback by a man who was able to keep up with her quick wit. He was Arthur Gettleman. – I walked over to him when I was introduced
and he said hello, Would you marry me? And I said I’ll call
my beautician and I’ll be right out and we laughed and actually we got married nine months later. – As my father tells it he was a shy fellow and it was in his interest to marry
somebody who was very outgoing and very social and my mother fit the
bill. – Estelle and Arthur settled in the Bronx and Arthur went into business with her father at the glass shop. Soon after the young couple had
their first child, Carl. The Bronx apartment was
getting too crowded for the growing family. Two years later, after Estelle had their second boy, Barry. The Gettleman’s decided to move to Queens – We grew up in a place called Bell Park
Gardens and it was a real community, it was actually a cooperative that had been built for
Jewish War Veterans primarily of the Second World War. – Bell Park Gardens I believe was uniquely liberal. The constituency was such that the
politics leaned in that area. We used to have a
sign on our window that said peace is the only solution. – Estelle kept a frantic schedule and was intent on having it all. My family I would say was a typical in that my mother worked which was pretty much unknown at that time and she was a
whirling dervish. She got up in the morning. She got us
prepared for school then she headed into the city. She would have her job and then at her lunch hour she’ll go out and do open auditions, run back to work. – I come home at three
o’clock in the afternoon when my little guy came home from school and then I made and served supper about 6 o’clock in the evening and then put out all night clothes and things to go to bed with and somebody said, do you realize you were working 4 jobs? But I didn’t really notice it at all and it was worth it. – Now as kids growing up we didn’t realize exactly
what a level of effort that took. In retrospect it was incredible what
she was doing. – Nevertheless, Estelle continued to find
her way onto the stage. – Mom was always an actress. It was
something we grew up with and we’re all aware the fact that she was an
actress. – I felt like I had found a treasure. A treasure being with theater. – Coming up on intimate portrait, Estelle meets a man who would make her a
Broadway star. – I said to myself, I’m stuck writing a third play anyway,
why not have a mother? – And later, intense stage fright almost
derails Estelle’s golden opportunity. – I was so terrified that I’m gonna freeze
in this spot and not be able to move. – It was the mid sixties. Estelle was working as a secretary by day, acting in the local theater at night and
raising two boys with her husband Arthur, but she would still find the time to see
the latest movies and plays with her close group of
friends. – We did go to the Broadway theater
with her or to off Broadway with her we were
turned to Estelle and say, Are we enjoying this? Is this a good plan? Are we having a good time? – She had to dictate whether we like something or didn’t like something. – Estelle was our mentor, our star all the time. – Estelle and her friends were
more than just casual theatergoers, they counsel each other on husbands,
children and on life’s challenges. They shared tears, laughter and food at a table in a local diner. – She was always the focus of
attention even long before success. She was always the person who did a lot of
the organizing, wanted to get people together and Jewish people focus a lot on the social activities around
eating so the diner became the place. – Being with women with whom I was
attached by an invisible thread, all of us
were. We all had came from different places
and lived in different circumstances, but we’ve felt totally
relaxed and we were so, we had such fun and Estelle was
frequently the crux of all of it. – We would hurriedly leave
dinner for our spouses, our children rushed to the diner and at the diner we had favorite food and that’s where we did our thing. – We’ll sit there and talk and these were, all her friends were quite educated people and people that read. We all sat together
and told stories about our husbands and about our families and laughed and laughed and laughed and
frequently they were stories that Estelle had told dozens of times but they were still funny when she told
them again. The bill when we got the check, she would ask, tax, who add tax? – It was 1976, her children were grown and Estelle had more time to study
acting. Sometimes her own family provided the
lessons. – Sometimes I feel like a lot of my life
was a scene study for Estelle Getty you know. Sometimes you’d think they had been the
big scene being built up there and you wondered you know, how much of this is just your normal
family interaction and how much of this is a play that somebody is writing? – Though Estelle pursued her career with dauntless fervor, spending over 20 years performing in
small plays even made her question why she should continue. – I felt like giving up because I didn’t wanna make myself anymore unhappy than I had to be and I though well. So few people do make it. I don’t care whether I’d make it, I just
wanna be there. – She continued to show up at the theater just for the love of acting but stardom was
about to find her anyway. She met a young playwright and was so
impressed with his work that she asked if he would write a part
for her in his next play. The young playwright, Harvey Fierstein, wrote a part inspired by both Estelle and his own mother. – I knew that if I put the right lines in her mouth, she could rip their hearts out. – I read the play and I was smitten with it and I asked him to give the part of the mother. – And I said to myself I’m stuck writing a third play anyway,
why not have a mother? And I went home and I wrote the third
act for Torch Song which is called widows and
children first with Estelle in mind. – Not only did Estelle play the part of the
mother Mrs Beckoff on stage but she became a surrogate mom
to all the other actors. – She was the only one of the cast that
had a job. She was still this secretary at that time and she was the only one in the cast that could afford to buy dinner. She was the only one that had a car. She was the only one who had a home. She is the only one who had a
real life, the rest of us was sort of vagabonds. So Estelle was like and it wasn’t just an
age thing, Estelle was like a grown up to us. So we had to listen to her. – Torch Song Trilogy dealt with a wide
range of highly controversial issues for the seventies, such as homosexuality, AIDS and
cross-dressing. Estelle was not phased in the least by
its subject matter and was very proud to be associated with the
show. – She loved the theatre and she loved experimental theater and she hung out at La Mama and at La Mama, it was drag queens and you know and all that kind of stuff and I think that she didn’t have a
problem with and I think that Arthur did whatever he was told by Estelle and you know Barry. That’s who their mother was. – Mom says let me take you backstage to
meet Harvey, and I walked backstage and there is this six-foot, you know 300-pound drag queen shaving his legs and putting mascara on and I was just taken aback to say the least. – The play quickly moved from the La Mama experimental theater on the Lower West Side of New York City to an off-Broadway theater in Greenwich
Village called the Glines, but it didn’t last long there either. The immense popularity of the play moved it up town to Broadway. – It was the hottest show as a matter fact after a while you couldn’t get tickets to it. You had a wait three months to get
tickets to Torch Song Trilogy. – The experience on Broadway was
absolutely overwhelming. It was the pinnacle of success, her
greatest dream was being actualized and it was even better than her wildest
fantasy. It was an amazing performance, an amazing show. You know nowadays
plays about people being gay and AIDS and homophobia and the life of alternative lifestyle drag queens. It’s almost commonplace you know it’s on
sitcoms now it’s not, but at the time now is a very profound
play to be in. – I know that her performance on Torch Song changed a lot of lives. I know that there are gay people who came in with their parents to the theater, barely able to look at each other and
left with their arms around each other. – Even though Estelle did not appear
until the final act of the play, audiences left the theater night after
night talking about her powerful performance – She was in the third act of Torch Song Trilogy and only the third
act and she would sit backstage and sense what was working what wasn’t and she came on stage on that third act and she would smoke em she was great. – When that front door opened and that little woman walked in, in her
bright turquoise suit, with her oranges from Miami, just arriving from Florida. I don’t know
how many times I saw her do it hundreds of times. It ripped my heart out, threw it on the
ground you could have done a tarantella on my heart. – It was a bright little elf that came
out on that stage just full of vinegar she was really telling him what was what and she took
over as far as I was concerned, she took over the play. – Her performance was really honest I think and fair and loving yet biting yet mean-spirited
yet kind and it is very, it was full of humanity, you know? It could have been done as one note that part, just kinda snappy conniving
annoying but it wasn’t, you could see the warmth
and the love that she had for him throughout. – After years of performing in obscurity, Torch Song Trilogy was allowing Estelle to finally enjoy the fruits of her labor. – Mom was going from having been somebody that was enormously talented, obscured in the public eye to somebody
who is becoming at least in the New York theater circles, quite a well-known personality. – Coming up on intimate portrait, Estelle’s Broadway
triumphs turned to tragedy by the untimely deaths of her fellow
actors. – A lot a creative people that she knew
and really loved had suffered with this and it really broke her heart. – And later, Estelle finds super-stardom in her golden
years. – How could anyone think they gonna have
a life that went from virtual obscurity to being world-famous. – It was the early eighties and for the
first time in her life, Estelle was able to give up her day job
and make a living as an actress. She received a lot of attention starring
in Broadway’s hit play, Torch Song Trilogy. Famed film director
Peter Bogdanovich noticed her work and decided to cast Estelle in a film
about a boy with a disfiguring disease called Mask starring Cher. – Hey Ma, want to do the windows yet? – Graham. – She got a part in the movie Mask while she didn’t say much she was
incredible. – Hey Hey Hey. – Honey Boy! Honey Boy! – Look how tall he’s getting. – So show us the new house. – Abe, don’t start anything. You promised me Abe. – Alright – She decided that she was no longer just a mother and a wife. She was becoming a whole person all by
herself and she was able to do things that she
could never have conceived she could do before. – Arthur and Estelle’s marriage began to
change with Estelle’s new found success. – Mom was a lot more nocturnal. Dad liked
to be in bed by eight o’clock so they were really working in different shifts. I’d say that after a while they started
living in shifts. Dad going to work doing his thing, coming home, crashing out. Mom putting dinner on the table and taken off and live in this whole second life. – I think Estelle Getty was dying to get out of Estelle Gettleman. – Estelle’s Broadway career was thriving, she was the toast of the town and
performed to packed houses night after night. It all seemed like a dream to her but what made her wake up was the
disease that began to claim the lives of her fellow actors. – Our pianist started coming in
with his articles about something called the gay cancer. Court started getting rashes and low-grade fevers and night sweats and we all never put the two things together but we all kept laughing at him that he was the worst hypochondriac any of us had ever seen. He said to me, look at my arm. I said what’s the matter with it? He said, well look at it! And I said yeah. He said look at those things on there. I get more each morning when I
wake up and I said don’t be such a crybaby it’s nothing I’m sure it’s okay. – Estelle began to bring in chicken soup and
brisket and chickens and she was cooking for
Court because home-cooked food would cure whatever was wrong with him. Eventually Court became very ill. – They wouldn’t let into the hospital first of all and second of all we got permission from somebody downstairs to
go up and see him. And we got upstairs and the nurse there said, alright you people stand back. – We had to wear masks
and gloves and cover ourselves and nurses wouldn’t go near AIDS
patients and the horror of the first years of AIDS is something that no generation should ever have to go
through. – She saw a lot of people going through the whole agony of getting sick and so she became pretty
concerned about this a lot of creative people that she knew and really love had
suffered with this and it really broke her heart. – She embraced
the gay community and people with AIDS in a way that at
the time few celebrities chose to do. – Estelle lost a lot of her friends
including her nephew to AIDS. She would use her new found
celebrity to fight this disease. – Every single AIDS event that I’ve ever been to she’s there. No matter what state of
health she’s in. She is always there and I think that
that’s a true testament to her conviction. – Don’t know why more isn’t being done. You spent enough money on things not nearly so meaningful. But still it goes on. In the mid eighties, Estelle left the Broadway stage and went on tour with Torch Song Trilogy. Her last stop was Los Angeles where it
became a big hit and Estelle began to meet many power
brokers and Hollywood celebrities. – She had been touring for four
years in Torch Song Trilogy and she had come to Los Angeles in
Torch Song and I’ve gone to see it and she’d been so wonderful and the
producers had seen her and thought she was so wonderful because this little pixie came on stage
and just took over. – Those producers called her in to audition
for a television pilot called the Golden Girls. The producers weren’t
completely convinced that this 61-year-old could play an 81-year-old
character. But Estelle would create a role that
would be loved by them and all of America. – She’s really a phenomenal comedian. She really is and she’s got great timing and I think she made the most out of that character. – In 1984, Estelle was making the rounds
of many Hollywood studios trying to find work. Producers of the NBC pilot, The Golden Girls, were interested in
casting Estelle in a small part in the show but weren’t convinced that she could play
an 81-year-old woman. Estelle’s managers decided to dress her up
to look the part. – And I came in with a big bag and I said what’s that? They said, little something you’ll put on before you go to the audition. She sits me down, my manager and she puts powder on my hair and she takes
out this dress which is now down to my ankles and needs knee bows to keep it up and little white gloves they hadn’t worn in a hundred years and she said, now you look like the part. Well I wouldn’t have recognized myself. – The character is a little bit like mom. I think a
little bit like my father don’t tell her this. A little bit like some old Italian
ladies that we knew, it was a composite of
a lot of people. Mom was a student of human nature and to this day. She watches people and watches
mannerisms and she remembers them. She uses it. It’s all material for her. – Estelle was cast in the role of Sophia
Petrillo in NBC’s pilot of the Golden Girls. She walked onto the set star-struck
because she would be working with television luminaries, Rue Mcclanahan, Betty White and Bea Arthur. – So there I was going to Bea Arthur’s dressing room, I couldn’t believe it. I stood back a little and I said, this is the week that I turned on television and believe it or not you know what was on? Me. And she turned to me she said, please! – There has never been prior to the show any kind of a mother-daughter
relationship like we had which was really hysterical. I mean the love hate and of course the
difference in size. The whole thing I mean it was absolutely
made in heaven. – I don’t think at that early point. I don’t think she
was intended to be in every show. Well of course she walked and did her
thing and she was ours from then on, so it was a
wonderful foursome. – Estelle’s transition into television was
exciting but it was a very difficult experience
for her since she’d never worked on a television series before. – I was always telling Estelle, now you’ll get the hang of this, believe
me. You will catch on how to how this is done It’s very similar to acting, it feels
like acting except that the timing is just one beat
off because you have to be, you have to wait for that camera to get
to you. – And Estelle was just there frozen. You thought she’s never gonna be able to
take a step out on that stage. – I was so terrified that I’m gonna freeze
in this spot and not be able to move. Terrifying experience because you know that there are several
million people watching you. – Ma I can’t believe this, you’ve rented a dirty movie? – Dirty is in the eye of the
beholder. Okay maybe that’s a little dirty. – Estelle overcame her fears and not only became a part of a phenomenally successful show but she also delivered a breakout
performance every week. – Ma we did not get a VCR so that you can watch dirty movies. I’m 81, what are you worrying about. You think I’m gonna find someone down at the center to do that with? – Here’s a little woman who’s had a
stroke just enough to completely erase her sense of social propriety so she can say anything and get by
with it. – She was brilliant in that role and the contrast between her and Bea Arthur you know six foot 2, towering in this tiny little twerp of
a woman, I think played so well and the chemistry
of that show it’s one the best sitcoms ever on TV I think. – I’ve seen so many really wonderful
actors, wonderful actors who once they’re told
it’s a comedy they’re playing,. They turn into god knows what I mean they’re no
longer human beings. You know what I mean? They go mad and she was able to
simply sustain take her time and invest in the character that she played. – She’s one of the reasons for the success
of the show with young people. I think they get such
a kick out of little Estelle telling big Bea off and knuckles under to her and everything. I think that’s part of the success. – The writers were very good to me. They love doing things. First of all I know that they could always get a line at the end. They can always get a button. – Sophia was probably the smartest and the
most sage of anybody there because
she’d seen it all she been there done that and Rose’s naivete. Sometimes she can
handle it but most times she just couldn’t. Rose was such a sitting duck. She couldn’t resist popping her off every chance she got. – Hey Dorothy I hope you didn’t fix breakfast for me I’m not eating home this morning. Someone’s buying me breakfast. – Someone? – Ok. Ok. Quit badgering me. (Laughs) It’s Alvin. – Alvin from the boardwalk? – No Rose Alvin from the Chipmunks. (Laughs) – It’s her delivery you know. She takes that
beat, has that deadpan and then babababa. You know? She’s really a
phenomenal comedian. She really is and she’s got great timing
and I think she made the most out of that character. – The character Sophia became so popular
with audiences that NBC asked Estelle to do double duty and play Sophia on
their other hit comedy, Empty Nest. – Charlie no more of your babes in this house.(Laughs) – I’m back! (Applause) – She did Empty Nest a lot because they
were neighbors across just down the street so and every time she’d show up in any context. It was like seeing an old dear
beloved welcome friend. – I moved back into Shady Pines. Why don’t you come down some time and play doctor? (Laughs) – Well dear, it’s nice to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor. – But I lost my sense of taste, nothing. (Laughs) – Sophia, you gonna be at Shady Pines permanently? – At my age I’m gonna be anywhere
permanently. (Laughs) – The combination of two hit shows and an unforgettable character Sophia made Estelle one of the biggest stars in
network television. – How can anyone think they gonna have
a life that went from virtual obscurity to being world-famous. – The TV was a wonderland instead of being exposed to a few thousand people a night. She’s being
exposed to tens of millions of people a night and the fan mail and the accolades and all that these were all unbelievable events. – She was able to
handle this almost appears overnight stardom. I mean discounting the years and years and years of auditioning and trying. – We went to see a
movie together and it was so funny to walk through the Beverly Center with all these people
you know. Normally I walk through the Beverly Center and its hey Rosy, hey Rosy, hey Rosy. I walked to her everyone’s like, Estelle! Sophia! Sophia! Estelle! You know. – During the late eighties, Estelle as Sophia Petrillo was recognized by more people than any other celebrity on TV. She used her immense popularity to bring even more attention and money to the fight against AIDS. – Her main focus was raising funds for
AIDS and the main reason for that is she’s
incredibly popular in gay community, stemming from her work in Torch Song
Trilogy. She’s always had numerous gay friends and they’re the ones who really put her
on top so when it came time to raise funds for
something she said you guys I’ve lost too many of you and I will
raise funds as best I can and she did it all the time. – Estelle became every gay persons mother. When she walked down the street, gay people grabbed her and kissed her
and hugged her and that’s the way she was treated. – In some of the gay bars, on the night that we were on Saturday
nights. They close down the dancing. When Golden Girls came on
everybody watch Golden Girls and the music had start up and they’ll start dancing
again which was lovely. I’m sure that was all for Estelle. – Do you think I should tell Rose and Blanche? – Jean is a nice person, she happens to like girls instead of guys. Some people like cats instead of dogs, frankly I’d rather live with a lesbian
than a cat. (Laughs) Unless a lesbian sheds that I don’t
know. – With stardom Estelle’s life changed
rapidly but her husband Arthur didn’t like the
fast-paced Hollywood lifestyle and didn’t want to move to Los Angeles. Estelle and Arthur agreed to live apart but the two remain married. – They’re still married, They’re still a couple in some sense even
though they live their lives apart. – It was a funny marriage always in that
my mother was pursuing the theater all the time so they didn’t really spend a lot of time together to begin with so when they asked my mother move out to the west coast to
pursue her career out there, my father encouraged to do it but he had
a business to run. – I have with my rabbi used Well really I mean, just because people live together doesn’t make it a
good marriage just because they don’t doesn’t make it bad marriage. – It was a major decision for her to move
to California and leave her whole life as it was, and I don’t think she ever regretted it because of
course she was so highly successful and she and her family would stay in
touch of course but it’s a major adjustment. – They always say to me, how long were you married? I said 52 years, married 52 years. How do you keep a marriage like
that going and be exciting and interesting? I said, how
the hell should I know. – In 1988 Estelle was acknowledged by her
peers with an Emmy Award for Best Supporting
Actress for her portrayal of Sophia. – Picture it California 1988. (Laughs) This is such a big thrill and I know
that I can’t take too much time but I want to thank the immediate world. – But she was even more grateful for the
opportunity she had to make millions of people laugh on a weekly basis. – If I have done anything to make something easier or more genuine or more caring because it’s something I
said or did then I’m glad. – In 1991, the Golden Girls completed seven
successful seasons when Bea Arthur decided to leave the show. – I had told all of them that I wanted out. I thought seven years was enough – The Golden Girls may have become part in
television history but Estelle and America weren’t through with Sophia just yet. – In 1992, after The Golden Girls finished
its run, the producers decided to continue the
series without Bea Arthur and rename it Golden Palace. Estelle, Rue and Betty were on their own. – Idea was that these
three ladies after this protected environment where they all
protected each other had to go out and face the world. They bought this hotel in Miami and they had to really face life which they hadn’t had to do to that extent in the other format. – I think she really had more fun in
Golden Palace than she had in Golden Girls. I saw a weight lift off her shoulders
when we went into Golden Palace and I think she truly enjoyed
every week of that – Golden Palace couldn’t quite seem to find its audience and was canceled after only one year. – Unfortunately, the writing would fall back on
characters that we all knew and the people wanted to see. So pretty soon we were doing Golden
Girls in the lobby rather than approach life for these women. – In 1993, Estelle finally retired Sophia
and a part of television history. Since then she appeared in a few
television and movie roles but something changed about Estelle. The work began to be more difficult for
her. – My mother does not have the physicality to enjoy the benefits of her success. She did for a while and then mobility was compromised and it saddens me. – Estelle’s walk was different. Her speech was slowed up, very slow. Her responses were slow and her gate was off at times and there were
times when we were talking when she would
drift and we were all extremely concerned. – With respect to her
difficulties with moving and balance, the most we have been able to say is
that she has a disorder of her walking and she has a disorder of her balance
and that it fits a Parkinsonian syndrome. We have
attempted to treat Estelle with various medications that are used
to treat Parkinson’s disease. So at times people who take these
medications may appear to be a little bit confused
or they may have difficulty concentrating or remembering things. – I keep hoping I’ll get physically
better so that I’ll be able to do some of the things I wanna do. Do I do it? Sometimes I do, most of the time I don’t. – I have encouraged Estelle to remain as
positive as she can and not to withdraw from her friends and
not to withdraw from social interactions but to keep as active as possible on a
day-to-day basis. – Mom always said you know her favorite
sound was the sound human laughter and I still think for mom that’s the
paramount importance she would like. She’s somebody who likes to entertain. If she were to meet you, she wants to entertain you. With the memory lapses and the losses and the diminished capacity,
she no longer functions so much as an entertainer as she used to and she really live to entertain people – It’s hard. I was always very movable and active and going and
coming and doing, and to lose any part of my freedom so late in life is almost devastating. – At 77 years old, Estelle Getty continues to bring smiles to the faces of the people she meets with her wit and charm. She still
receives huge amounts of fan mail and she now realizes what a difference
she’s made for millions of people by allowing them to forget about their
worries for a moment and laugh with their favorite Golden Girl. – This people’s whole day revolves around
seeing Golden Girls and high-point of their day is to see Estelle Getty you know peeling off one-liners in
Golden Girls and I think, mom wants to let those fans know that
you know she appreciates you know that and is glad that she was
able to to bring some joy and some happiness and certainly laughter into people’s life. – What greater gift in life to make
people smile for a living that’s great. You take the pressures off for a half hour they get to laugh and they feel so much better about life and that’s what almost everybody has expressed to me. Your mother has brought great joy to my life. – I just miss working with her. I don’t think there’ll ever be another
relationship I had that will be quite as fulfilling as that. – I must tell you when people see me on the street the first question they
ask me is, how’s the old lady? How’s Sophia? Oh she was my favorite. I always say wait a minute, (Laughs) you’re talking to me and she is your
favorite but I have to admit she was my favorite
too so I think that’s what she’ll remain. I think she’ll remain people’s favorite. – There have been many women in my life,
older women who look at me and see a motherless kid. You know and that’s a vulnerability to me and think that maybe is not shown on my show or is not shown
on the New York tough bravado but that older
women mothers, can see and so I think for her I’m the daughter
that she didn’t have and for me she’s the mom that I didn’t have and it’s a nice match. – I have always wanted to make people laugh. That’s all I ever directed my life towards, is making people laugh. (End) Check out other intimate portraits of: Golden Girl Betty White, Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan. Thanks for watching! ♫ Music ♫

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. i love her. in other sitcoms you would get bored if you had to see over and over again but golden girls is an exception / you lough as if you hear it the first time . and her smile just kills me

  2. I love this woman and I wish I had an opportunity to hug and thank her for all the laughter she brought to me and I still watch golden girls til now and always will Rest In Peace Mrs Estelle Getty and you had left great gift for us with your 2 son they seems like a great men which came from a great mother LOVE U Rest In Peace Estelle all peoples mother 🙏

  3. ROSIE is so annoying. it was VERY hard to watch this with her opening that mouth of hers. We had to forward past her…lol

  4. Hard to believe she was younger than Bea and played that character so well. I love Sophia so much. Just started watching Golden girls on hulu…at 36. A latecomer but so worth the wait

  5. Picture it, USA 1992, Little Mrs Tutti on the movie Stop or my mom will shoot, with Sylvester Stallone

    We love you Sophia, always will!

  6. In 1974, I was 17 years old and an apprentice at a Summer Stock theatre, upstate NY and Estelle was hired to play the mother in Plaza Suite. I was cast as the groom who is gonna marry her daughter. Estelle was hilarious in the role and was a sweetheart backstage and through the entire rehearsal process and run of the show. She got rave reviews for the part. When we both headed back to the city we stayed and touch and became friends. Then she got the part in torch song and when I went to see her I was blown away. Best thing in that show. We went out after the show and I was so happy she made it to broadway. So proud of her. Loved Estelle. An amazing lady. And soooooo funny onstage and offstage. Years later when golden girls happened it was surreal but I was again so proud. RIP, Estelle.

  7. Rip estell,bea,rue from someone from the lgbtq community and thank you for all you done for all the future lgbtq community

  8. So both Estelle and Bea were actually Jewish, but NBC made them Italian? Why not just let them be Jewish lol

  9. I love golden girls. Each and every member in it. Sophia( estelle gette) stole my heart and soul. If ever people like this would appear again in this world, this world would be beautiful.

  10. She was so damn good as Sophia. Quick witted, caustic, but still somehow warm and maternal. Crazy to think the the woman who played that character suffered from stage fright.

  11. I was a kid about 7 when the Golden girls was on Israeli TV we all (the kids in our classroom ) loved shopia the most she was so cute and sweet like an old kid we could relate to her ❤ R.I.P dear beautiful angel

  12. I think it was horrible of her father to imply that she wasn't pretty. How could you talk to your daughter like that ..,? Through a parents eyes your children should be the most beautiful.. human being you've ever saw. Well to me and to the rest of the world Estelle Getty was beautiful and will always be.

  13. Understand this women was amazing. God bless her in a day when women were put in the back of the house she came out swinging. Estelle is one of the women, we as women can do what we to do aspire to today. Thank you you Estelle for paving the way for all women. Do not let politicians put us back 80 years.

  14. Just read her Wikipedia article. It states her dementia was so bad at the end of her life that she couldn't remember the Golden Girls or her costars. Really sad.

  15. My favorite golden girl episode was when Blanche met Fidel he started to talk to Sophia too, fast forward to Sophia and him going out and
    he brought her home,Blanche said if you excuse me I'm gonna take a long hot steamy bath with just enough water to cover my perky bosoms Sophie said you only going to take a bath in an inch of water? That whole show was one of my favorites just thinking about it and I start

  16. Knowing how much she did for hiv/aids and for the LGBT community. Just made me love her even more if that's possible. Not only was she an amazing actress she was an amazing human being. There will never be another amazing soul like her in this world.


  18. Her husband was a good man. He should be honored for keeping her family together so she could follow her dream and her passion.

  19. I loved Estelle she was the best part of the show. RIP to the cast who past away. I'm just surprised golden place didn't go long

  20. Yes ~ Great ❤️ shows GOLDEN GIRLS, The Golden Palace , and I am still watching them and still enjoying them, may God bless you ♡ amen ♡

  21. Why can't tv still be like this? They wonder why no one watches!! News flash to you 25 year old wall street's be original from the pack bring tv back!!! You'll be known!!!!!

  22. Shame on the Scher’s for going to the cinema and shows on Shabbos instead of shul and erev Shabbos supper!
    Shame on Estelle for continuing the bad tradition of violating Shabbos and Yontif!
    The fag Fierstein is horrid too. Leviticus 20:13 exists for a reason!

  23. AIDS, G-d’s answer for a perverse group of men!
    The only victims of AIDS are:
    Rape victims
    Women who had unfaithful husbands
    Those who received tainted blood
    Babies born from infected mothers
    And those who suffer from drug addiction (except those in the fag community)

  24. Rosie O’Donnell claiming to be a “motherless kid” is exposing us to the reason why she’s a vile carpet eating dyke!

  25. Lewy body dementia; is what took this wonderful ladies life way to early. I’m so grateful to have had her on TV and still watch after all these years

  26. Fun Fact: Estelle Getty was the YOUNGEST actress in the Golden Girls series. She was 60 years old when she got the part of Sophia Petrillo and it took the make-up artists 45 minutes each show to get her to look like an old old lovable Italian woman.

  27. About taking neurológical disorder related medication : more side effects than positive effects.
    RIP Estelle allways my favourite ❤️

  28. Um, Torch Song Trilogy dealt with controversial issues for the '70s – like AIDs? Sorry, Valerie, we didn't know about AIDs in the '70s. And Torch Song Trilogy first appeared in 1981.

  29. This was a great portrait of Estelle, everyone interviewed awesome the 1 THING that made UT Grueling to watch was Rosie O'DONNELL… Ughhhhhh😫

  30. What a wonderful tribute to a magnificent actress. Song Torch Trilogy is my favourite gay film ever. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  31. People could learn from Estelle's story… Never give up on your dreams. Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't ever happen.

  32. What a lovely soul. I can tell you I have come home from work many a nights, got in my jammies, got a glass of Chardonnay and turned on the Golden Girls just to forget about the stress of the day. She may be gone physically, but she is with us every day as the feisty, foul mouthed Sophia. And I love her for it. Picture it 2019, and people are still watching the little old woman from Sicily. We love you, Estelle.

  33. And I missed the deli Macello Sophia to be yeah yeah yeah Gary I love you tell your girl to girl honey love you and God favorite golden girl I love you you’re a tire warranty or

  34. It wasn't "unheard of" for a mother to work in the late 40s/early 50s. Come on now. Plenty of women worked well before WWII… Look at the shirtwaist factory, all the factories in SoHo and Tribeca…those all had women in them. Geeeeeez…. It was LESS COMMON but not unheard of.

  35. What an amazing cast of characters. Betty White is the only one left now but none of them will be forgotten. The hours of entertainment they've provided us have been many. They will all live on in reruns!

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