LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Estelle Getty, the diminutive actress who spent 40 years struggling for success before landing a role of a lifetime in 1985 as the sarcastic octogenarian Sophia on TV's "The Golden Girls," has died. She was 84.
Getty, who had advanced dementia, died about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at her Hollywood Boulevard home, said her son, Carl Gettleman of Santa Monica.
"Estelle always wanted to be an actress, and she achieved that goal beyond her dreams," former "Golden Girls" co-star Rue McClanahan said. "Don't feel sad about her passing. She will always be with us in her crowning achievement, Sophia."
"The Golden Girls," featuring four female retirees sharing a house in Miami, grew out of NBC programming chief Brandon Tartikoff's belief that television was ignoring its older viewers.
Watching her work with Bea Arthur was a joy. Their timing was impeccable. If you never caught re-runs or the original shows, catch an episode on cable and enjoy. I guarantee you will laugh, even all these years later.