After The Golden Girls became a hit, Estelle bought the first house she ever owned in her life.
In 1982 Estelle won the Helen Hayes Award in the category of "Best Supporting Performer in a Touring Show" for her work in the play Torch Song Trilogy.
Estelle attended the New School for Social Research in New York. She also trained in New York's Herbert Berghof Studio.
In the 1940's Estelle worked as a stand-up comic in the Catskills, but soon gave up the idea when audiences failed to enjoy her routines.
Estelle released her autobiography entitled If I Knew Then What I Know Now …So What? in 1988.
Estelle became interesting in acting at the age of four when her parents took her to see a vaudeville show at the New York Academy of Music.
In 1993, Estelle won a Razzie Award in the category of "Worst Supporting Actress" for the movie Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.
Estelle was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1986, 1987, and 1992. She won once, in 1986. All were for her work as "Sophia Petrillo" on the hit series The Golden Girls.
She was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for The Golden Girls from 1986-1992. She only won once, in 1988.
She won an American Comedy Award in 1991 and 1992 for Funniest Supporting Female Performer in a TV Series for The Golden Girls.
Her caregiver's name was Paul Chapdelaine.
Estelle had an older sister, Rosilyn, and a younger brother, David. Both were with her at the time of her death in 2008.
Her nicknames were Stella and Ettie.
Estelle's Off-Broadway debut was in a play called The Divorce of Judy and Jane in 1971.
Estelle dressed in old-lady clothes for her fourth and final audition for The Golden Girls in order to prove that she wasn't too young to portray the part of Sophia Petrillo.
Estelle supported many causes including; AIDS charities, gay rights, and alternative living for the aging.
For many years Estelle was believed to be suffering from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. What she actually had was Lewy Body Dementia, which has very similar symptoms.
Estelle was 4' 10½" tall with blue eyes and brown hair.
Estelle: (about raising her two sons) I can't say I enjoyed it. That was in the days of Dr. Spock. It was a real chore being a mother in those days. It was terrible. Awful. Not fun at all.
Estelle: (on her fellow "Golden Girls") We sure were simpatico! We'd laugh at the same jokes, we had the same feelings about animals and about the world. It was quite remarkable.
Estelle: If you're a beautiful older woman, then you may get work. But if you're a plain older woman, or a fat older woman, or a short older woman, you'll find it harder to get a job.
Estelle: Before [The Golden Girls], every single older person was a mother or a grandmother. Now there are neighbors, secretaries and people who have jobs who are older people. You see roles they've never been allowed in before.
Estelle: I always had to fight against the fact that I could do things even though I was small. And eventually I proved to them I could play mother to six footers.
Estelle: I think they look upon me as an old child, because I'm so little, but they love the fact that I talk back to Dorothy.
Estelle: I've played mothers to heroes and mothers to zeros. I've played Irish mothers, Jewish mothers, Italian mothers, Southern mothers, mothers in plays by Neil Simon and Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. I've played mother to everyone but Attila the Hun.
Estelle: Being tiny has been difficult for me in a business that regarded physicality as the most important part of your life.
Estelle: Too many of you, my friends, are dying. Now it's time for me to do my part and help you.
Estelle: If love means never having to say you're sorry, then marriage means always having to say everything twice.