Los Angeles- As Tinseltown mourned the loss of 84-year-old actress Estelle Getty on Tuesday, doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center were reluctant to declare the beloved star of The Golden Girls fully deceased.
"We're almost completely sure she's dead," said attending physician Dr. Alan Nacasio. "We just want to wait a little longer before we make any drastic statements."
Experts find determining Getty's death particularly difficult due to her withered physical appearance and the fact she plays (or played) characters older than her actual age. "I've never been able to figure out how old she is," said forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Tricarico. "She seemed on the verge of death while playing Sophia on Golden Girls, but then I saw Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, and she seemed not quite as incredibly old."
On Wednesday, tributes poured in from Getty's Golden Girls co-stars, including her on-screen daughter Bea Arthur: "She was a brilliant comedic actress and I will miss her- if she is, in fact, dead." Rue McClanahan told the Associated Press: "I cherish moments I shared with Estelle on the set, including many times when I thought she was already dead. So, let's not jump to conclusions just yet."
Cast mate Betty White said: "If you threw a party and invited everyone Estelle knew, she would see the biggest gift would be from me... Unless of course, she's dead, in which case the party will be her funeral and people won't bring presents."
Funeral services for Getty will be held as soon as doctors are absolutely positive she won't jump up suddenly.