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'Golden Girls' : 'Getty not on deathbed'

Nov. 19, 2004 at 1:24 PM

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Estelle Getty, from the U.S. TV series, "The Golden Girls," is suffering from dementia but is not near death, as has been reported, say her former castmates.

Bea Arthur, Betty White and and Rue McClanahan were in Beverly Hills, Calif., Thursday for the DVD release of their popular show, where the actresses dismissed reports of Getty's impending death, "Entertainment Tonight" reported Friday.

Getty, who played Sophia on the long-running series, is "not near death ... not near death at all," the actresses said.

"I went over there not too long ago and after I left, she told her caregiver that I was a nice lady. It's just heartbreaking," said White, who played Rose.

Arthur, who played Getty's daughter, Dorothy, on the show, said they had seen signs of the actress' dementia while working together.

"She had terrible trouble retaining her lines," Arthur said.

The three-disc DVD set will be in stores Tuesday.

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