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Estelle Getty, who played meddling mother Sophia on "The Golden Girls," died July 22 in Hollywood. She was 84.

Getty, who suffered from advanced dementia, died at her Hollywood Boulevard home, said her son, Carl Gettleman.

Getty won an Emmy in 1988 and a Golden Globe in 1986 for her portrayal of the feisty octogenarian. She co-starred on NBC's "Golden Girls" from 1985-92 and reprised the tart-tongued Sophia on four other TV series: "The Golden Palace," "Nurses," "Empty Nest" and "Blossom." Getty was two months younger than "Golden Girls" co-star Bea Arthur — her daughter on the show — but the illusion of her age was maintained through makeup, costume and her deportment.

In a similar vein of take-no-prisoners elder, Getty played Sylvester Stallone's domineering mother in "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot" (1992). Generically, it was a battling-buddy movie whose comic thrust was the diminutive Getty bossing around her L.A. lawman son.

Getty was 47 when she got her first significant role in an off-Broadway musical. She gained immediate prominence when she appeared in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Torch Song Trilogy" as Harvey Fierstein's acidic mother.

Getty was a vocal supporter of gay rights and active in fundraising for AIDS research. She retired in 2000 after revealing that she had Parkinson's disease.



Marilyn Shapiro, a theater and television producer and longtime manager and business partner to actress Bonnie Franklin, died July 20 of kidney disease. She was 77.

Shapiro started her career as one of the youngest off-Broadway producers, held various production jobs and got into casting for stage as well as reality TV series.

Shapiro turned to talent management starting with Jack Colvin & Yvonne Wilder in the 1960s. In 1968, she discovered Broadway ingenue Franklin, who went on to star in Norman Lear's "One Day at a Time," which ran on CBS from 1975-84.

In the 1980s, Shapiro and Franklin formed Poolhouse Prods., producing several TV projects as well as Franklin's cabaret act. About eight years ago, the pair founded Classic and Contemporary American Plays, whose primary purpose is to expose junior and senior high school students to "the American canon of theatrical literature" in the Los Angeles area.
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