Estelle Getty (born Estelle Scher on July 25, 1923 in New York City) is an Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actress, whose most important beginning role was playing Harvey Fierstein's mother on Broadway in the play Torch Song Trilogy; however, she was best known for her role as Sophia Petrillo on the popular 1980s sitcom, The Golden Girls. In it, she played the wise-cracking old Sicilian mother of Dorothy Zbornak, who was the show's main protagonist, played by Bea Arthur. Getty was actually two months younger than Bea Arthur and was heavily made-up to look significantly older.
In 2000, she stopped making public appearances after she revealed that she had Parkinson's Disease and osteoporosis. In 2002, it was revealed to the media that she is also suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. It was later found that she actually had Lewy Body Dementia, and both the Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diagnoses were incorrect.