Estelle Getty who struggled from the early days of the Yiddish Theatre to finally find success as Sophia on TV’s Golden Girls is dead at 84.

Getty, who suffered from dementia passed away early this morning, according to her son, Carl Gettleman.

Despite playing an octogenarian, Getty was playing far older than her years when the show first aired in 1985.  The concept arose from then-NBC programming chief Brandon Tartikoff that TV was ignoring its older viewers.  He was right. Golden Girls show nabbed 57 Emmy noms over 7 seasons.

Getty first came to prominence as Harvey Firestein’s mother in the Broadway hit Torch Song Trilogy.  She later played Cher‘s mother in Mask and Sly Stallone‘s Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!

Costar Bea Arthur mourned, "Our mother-daughter relationship was one of the greatest comic duos ever, and I will miss her."