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The Golden Girls: Pop Culture Icon Sophia Petrillo And That Funny Thing She Said: TV Show Quotes

Sophia Petrillo Pop Culture Icon  And That Funny Thing She Said: TV Show Quotes

For ten years across 258 episodes, Actress Estelle Getty played pop culture icon Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls. Getty's portrayal of Sophia was so beloved by fans that the character went on to appear in other TV shows like Empty Ness, Blossom, and Nurses.

Getty won a Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Award for her role as the brash, mischievous 80-year-old Sicilian from Brooklyn. In 1986 all four cast members of the show were nominated for Best Actress in a Television Comedy Series, along with Cybill Shepherd. Getty tied with Cybill Shepherd, and both actresses took home the award that night.

A distinguishing first-season win for Getty and the cast and crew of Golden Girls, especially since the 43rd Annual Golden Globe Awards Ceremony was a big night for some of the best in the business. (See Winners And Nominees 43rd Golden Globes)

Sophia Petrillo Pop Culture Icon  And That Funny Thing She Said: TV Show Quotes

The Golden Girls went up against some of the most popular shows and the who's who of actors from the eighties at the Golden Globe. The sitcom walked away with Best Musical or Comedy Series, beating out Kate and Allie, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, and Moonlighting.

Golden Girls and Moonlighting were the new kids on the block in this category. But while the series was new the lead cast had together an unparalleled level of talent that remains unmatched to this day. Each member brought their unique abilities and charisma, forming a truly magical ensemble.

Bea Arthur's commanding presence and dry wit as Dorothy Zbornak displayed her unmatched acting prowess. Arthur was an experienced comedian and stage actress who, by 1978, had completed 141 episodes on the hit series Maude.

Betty White's endearing portrayal of Rose Nylund was a testament to her versatility and charm. White had an impressive television career starting with her first TV appearance as an extra in 1945 and by 1952 was co-starring in Life With Elizabeth (40 Episodes), 1957 Date With An Angel (33 Episodes), 1973 The Mary Tyler Moore Show (45 Episodes), and by 1978 had starred in The Betty White Show.

Rue McClanahan's flirtatious and vivacious Blanche Devereaux was a masterclass in comedic performance. McClanahan had 22 acting credits by 1978 and had worked on Maude for 115 episodes.

Harvey Fierstein as Arnold and Estelle Getty as Mrs. Beckoff in “Torch Song Trilogy” at Broadway’s Little Theater in 1982. (Photo Courtesy Of Gerry Goodstein)

Sophia Petrillo Pop Culture Icon  And That Funny Thing She Said: TV Show Quotes

Estelle Getty began working in television in 1978, having mostly dedicated her career to theater before that. And despite her lack of experience in the television industry, she managed to win the Best Actress award on a night when many notable names such as Liza Minnelli, Dustin Hoffman, Don Johnson, Edward James Olmos, Jon Voight, Jack Nicholson, Lionel Richie, and Whoopi Goldberg also took home awards.

"For several years, Estelle Getty, formerly Estelle Gettleman of Bayside, Queens, was the most bankable star on any network. She was bigger than Carol Burnett, more saleable than Mary Tyler Moore, and surer to deliver viewers than Cher," said Harvey Fierstein. (Source: ‘Torch’ Ma Was Beacon: Fierstein on working with Estelle Getty NYPost)

"The thing about Estelle was that you could not catch her acting. She was being. If her character was supposed to be angry, Estelle got angry. If her character was brokenhearted, the actress was brokenhearted. It all felt real. "Only those who saw her onstage have any idea who we really lost"

- Harvey Fierstein

Note: See the video clip of Estelle Getty accepting her award below, read Sophia's acceptance speech for an award she received in season 1 episode 21, and let me know your thoughts.


Here are a few Sophia Petrillo Quotes taken from the first season that helped to cement this character into television and pop culture history :

Sophia Petrillo Pop Culture Icon  And That Funny Thing She Said: TV Show Quotes

"It was a retirement home and you know what they did? They set off the fire alarm, in a retirement home. Who can rush? Half the people have walkers. The other half can’t get out of their chairs. But they got bells going off like crazy. You know what that does to hearts that only beat a few times a week? It’s not pretty."

Season 1 Episode 1

"I sleep like a log. I never get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I go in the morning, every morning like clockwork. At 7 AM, I pee. Unfortunately, I don’t wake up until eight."

Season 1 Episode 1

The Engagement: Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche are three women who share a house in Miami, Florida. Dorothy's elderly mother, Sophia, unexpectedly moves in after her retirement home burns down, and Blanche accepts a marriage proposal.

Season 1 Episode 1 Aired Sep 14, 1985

Sophia Petrillo Pop Culture Icon  And That Funny Thing She Said: TV Show Quotes

"Who invited the priest? You know I can’t cut loose with a priest around. He gives me the creeps. He’s been following me. They always follow the old people. It’s like parking tickets. They got a last rights quota."

Season 1 Episode 2

"Anger is a lot like a piece of shredded wheat caught under your dentures. If you leave it there, you get a blister, and you gotta eat Jello-O all week. If you get rid of it, the sore heals, and you feel better."

Season 1 Episode 2

"You want poetry, you listen to Neil Diamond. You want good advice, you listen to your mother."

Season 1 Episode 2

Guess Who's Coming to the Wedding?: When Dorothy's daughter Kate gets married, Dorothy must confront her ex-husband Stanley, who walked out on their 38-year marriage for a younger woman.

Season 1 Episode 2 Aired Sep 21, 1985

Sophia Petrillo Pop Culture Icon  And That Funny Thing She Said: TV Show Quotes

"I only hear from him at Christmas when he sends me a cheddar cheese nativity scene. I'm Catholic. I can't spread a wise man on a Ritz cracker."

Season 1 Episode 4

"I hate hospitals. My friend Manny Fishbein went into the hospital a healthy guy. Then boom, boom, dead, just like that, in his sleep. 98 years old no apparent cause."

Season 1 Episode 4

Transplant: Blanche's sister, Virginia, with whom she has had a tense relationship for years, comes to visit. She reveals that she needs a kidney transplant to save her life.

Season 1 Episode 4 aired Oct 5, 1985

Sophia Petrillo Pop Culture Icon  And That Funny Thing She Said: TV Show Quotes

"If that's the doctor, I have no insurance and no money! If he still wants to come in he just wants to see me naked."

Season 1 Episode 5

The infamous Mama Celeste

"Let me tell you a story, Sicily, 1912 picture this, two young girls, best friends who shared three things, a pizza recipe, some dough, and a dream. Everything is going great until one day a fast-talking pepperoni salesman, gallops into town. Of course, both girls are impressed.

He dates one, one night the other the next night. Pretty soon, he drives a wedge between them. Before you know it, the pizza suffers, the business suffers, the friendship suffers. The girls part company and head for America, never to see one another again. One of those girls was me. The other one you probably know as Mama Celeste."

Season 1 Episode 5

The Triangle: When Dorothy's doctor boyfriend makes a pass at Blanche, their friendship becomes threatened.

Season 1 Episode 5 aired Oct 19, 1985

Sophia Petrillo Pop Culture Icon  And That Funny Thing She Said: TV Show Quotes

"I say let relatives see how you really live. That way they don’t hang around."

Season 1 Episode 17

Nice and Easy: Blanche is concerned about the flirtatious behavior of her niece, Lucy.

Season 1 Episode 17 aired Feb 1, 1986

Sophia Petrillo Pop Culture Icon  And That Funny Thing She Said: TV Show Quotes

Sofia wins the Friends Of Good Health Best Friend Of The Year Award

Acceptance Speach: "I’m very proud to win this award. Who would have guessed an old lady with a tin can could raise so much dough? I would like to thank you all for choosing me to be the best friend of the year.

Not only do I have a lot of friends in this community, but I have good friends at home, friends who care about me and care about each other. I count my blessings every day because I have the kind of friends who stand by you through the bad and the good. When you’re lucky enough to find that kind of friendship, I guess you just want to pass it on."

Season 1 Episode 21

Flu Attack: Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche all come down with the flu and have been driving each other crazy. But just as they begin to make up, the girls learn that one of them may win the Best Friend Of The Year Award.

Season 1 Episode 21

Although with TalkTeaV Spotlights, I mainly focus on fictional characters, this time, it's hard not to acknowledge the incredible performance of the actor behind the character.

Estelle Getty's portrayal of the sharp-witted Sophia Petrillo showcased her impeccable comedic timing and depth. Fans will always remember her from the iconic sitcom The Golden Girls. But those who worked closely with Estelle Getty, who watched her on the stages in the East Village, knew she was so good that "you could not catch her acting," leaving an unforgettable legacy not only in television but also within the realm of theater.

Learning about Estelle Getty's incredible journey and ultimate success has motivated me to adopt a forward-looking mindset, to focus on the future instead of dwelling on time lost. I hope Estelle herself recognized the remarkable impact she has made and the lasting legacy she created. Her unwavering determination is a reminder that it's never too late to overcome obstacles and achieve great things.

Thanks for making it this far, and if you're a fan of The Golden Girls, comment below, and let me know your thoughts.

Keep It Interesting and Stay Channel Surfing

- Damian

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