Estelle Getty Dies at 84, But Sophia Is Immortal

"Silly Rabbi, tricks are for kids!" Photo: Getty Images (of course)

There must be some sort of spiritual divide between those twenty- and thirtysomething women who, when flipping through channels and are forced to choose, pick classic Golden Girls episodes — and those who pick Sex and the City reruns. There's just something comforting about those crazy old ladies, and Getty's Sophia will live on in rerun heaven as the comedic linchpin of that Miami condo. As any writer grasping for a treacly cliché knows, life is but a series of moments. And in ours we've experienced not one but two memorable moments relating to Estelle Getty. The most recent came this afternoon, of course, when it was announced that the Golden Girls star had passed away at the age of 84, and a sad collective gasp passed through our IM windows.

But our original — nay, pivotal — Getty moment came at a much younger age; it was 1988, when Getty won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a comedy series. We were just 8 years old and watching the coverage with our parents, and it was the first time we saw Getty out of her elaborate makeup. We were horrified. What have they done to Sophia?! The white hair and saggy wrinkles were gone; in their place was a hardly geriatric redhead. What the hell?! Our parents explained that Getty wasn't really an old woman, but we were still shocked by the transformation. We were certainly old enough to know that Sophia was portrayed by an actress, but that's when we realized just how talented an actress really could be. —Jessica Coen

Estelle Getty of 'Golden Girls' Dies at 84 [AP]