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Estelle Getty, 1923-2008

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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Tiny Estelle Getty, young star of the Yiddish theater and famous for her years of work on Golden Girls, the greatest sitcom of all time, died today after an exceedingly long and remarkably misdiagnosed illness. She was nominated seven times for an Emmy for Golden Girls—the same number as Alec Baldwin's total Emmy noms—and only won once. In 1988, she beat Jackee Harry of 227 and Rhea Perlman of Cheers, as well as the delicious Katherine Helmond of Who's the Boss. She was married for more than 50 years, although she and her husband mostly lived on opposite coasts. Between Golden Girls, appearing in Torch Song Trilogy, and caring for her nephew with AIDS, she was a treasure to the gays, and if they were in charge of any flags at all, they would fly them at half mast this whole week.

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