The Golden Girls: The Best of Sofia Petrillo – Part 1
Sophia is best known for her wisecracks, put-downs and brazen remarks, often commenting on Dorothy’s unpartnered state, Blanche’s promiscuity, and Rose’s cluelessness. However, despite her sharp criticism of her daughter and roommates, she loves and cares for them deeply; she even sees Rose and Blanche as surrogate daughters. The other women usually seek Sophia out for advice, which Sophia is all too willing to share, usually beginning with her catchphrase, “Picture it…” Like Rose’s tall tales, Sophia’s parables often end with a moral, from which advice can be gleaned. These stories usually also involved historical figures, with Sophia claiming to have had trysts with Pablo Picasso, Sigmund Freud, and Winston Churchill, amongst others. She also claims to have befriended many famous people including Golda Meir,Mama Celeste, and accidentally claimed that Robert Frost was always “nipping at my nose” (she was confused with Jack Frost).
Members of Sophia’s family who have appeared on the program include: Her sister, Angela (Nancy Walker for 2 episodes in Season 2); her brother, Angelo, and her father (both roles were played by Bill Dana); her daughter, Gloria; her husband, Sal (in flashbacks and in dream sequences); and Sophia’s own mother (Bea Arthur in a dual role who also didn’t have a Sicilian accent), who also appeared exclusively in flashbacks; and even Dorothy at a younger age (played by Lynnie Greene).
It is unclear whether Sophia moved to the United States alone or with her family, as her sister and mother had both eventually lived in New York as well. Sophia and her sister Angela were estranged for decades after a misunderstanding at a Christmas party in 1955; Angela then became a widow and she moved back to Sicily for 30 years until they reconciled and she moved back to the U.S. Sophia’s brother Angelo (initially a priest, then a layman) remained in Sicily and moved to the United States only in season six.
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