It Seems Beyond the Veil, but Sophia, TV's Oldest, Crankiest Golden Girl, Is About to Become a Blushing Bride

updated 11/21/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/21/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

They say all brides are beautiful, but does that extend to Sophia, the diminutive, wise-mouthing matriarch of NBC's The Golden Girls? Cantankerous Getouttahere you miserable bagiagaloops Sophia? Seems so. This is not a dream. In a two-part episode starting Saturday, Dorothy's ma really takes the plunge.

If you're shocked, imagine Estelle Getty's reaction. She didn't know her character was getting married until she read it in the script five days before the happy day was shot. "I thought I was losing my job," jokes Getty, who ages about 20 years to play the 82-year-old Sophia. But her fans needn't worry. Despite the wackiness of Sophia's wedding—a roomful of Elvis impersonators from the Hunka Hunka Burning Love Fan Club show up—it's intended as a social statement. "We have to look at what we've been doing in terms of writing old people off," says co-executive producer Paul Junger Witt. "My parents are 83, and they're as much in love now as ever."

How long will it last between Sophia and Max Weinstock, her late husband's business partner, played by Jack (Cocoon) Gilford? That's anybody's guess. "He could move in, the relationship could end prematurely, or he could die—none are unrealistic," says Witt. "Ah, I hope he doesn't die," sighs Getty, who says she adores working with Gilford. Of course if things don't work out, Sophia can always go back to her old ways of past seasons. She dated Burt Reynolds, remember?

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