22 July 2008 10:09 AM, PDT | TheInsider.com | See recent The Insider news »

Estelle Getty, the lovable, saucy actress best known for her role as feisty mother Sophia Petrillo in the hit sitcom "The Golden Girls," has died. She was just days away from her 85th birthday. "The Insider" confirms the actress passed away at 5:35 a.m. Pacific Time this morning with her two sons by her side. Upon hearing the sad news, Bea Arthur said "Our mother-daughter relationship was one of the greatest comic duo's ever, and I will miss her." Born in New York, NY on July 25, 1923, Estelle didn't start her entertainment career until the early 1970s on Broadway, though as a teen she was already an energetic performer, eager to audition for plays. She got her first big break with the Broadway hit, Torch Song Trilogy, in which she played a Jewish mother whose son is a drag queen. The part had been written especially for her by playwright Harvey Firestein. »

- TheInsider

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