Doris Roberts, Star of 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' Dies at ninetieth

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 3:23 AM

She was ninety. Her "Everybody Loves Raymond" co-star Patricia Heaton confirmed the news on Monday.

Doris Roberts, Star of 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' Dies at ninetieth

Doris Roberts, a character actress who labored honorably both on stage and screen for years before finding the perfect vehicle for her talents, the hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," died on Sunday.

She was ninety.

Her "Everybody Loves Raymond" co-star Patricia Heaton confirmed the news on Monday.

A cause of death hasn't yet been released. According to TMZ, which first reported the news, Roberts died in Los Angeles.

Roberts was nominated for eleven Emmys, including seven for playing Marie Barone on "Raymond," winning four for her work on that series; she picked up her first Emmy in one thousand nine hundred eighty-third for a visitor appearance on "St. Elsewhere," making for a total of five wins overall.

On "Everybody Loves Raymond," Roberts' nearly omnipresent Marie Barone (she appeared on every episode of the indicate, which ran from 1996-2005) made life challenging for her son, Ray Romano'south Ray, and particularly for his wife Debra, played by Heaton.

Roberts once explained to the website Jewish Virtual Lib that to create Marie she combined aspects of Romano'south Italian mother and series producer Phil Rosenthal'south German-Jewish mother.

"They are different rhythms, different personas. I meld them together," the actress said. "This woman could be a harridan. She really is more than meddlesome."

But in her performance she made Marie'south actions more palatable.

"Everything I do, I do it because I wish (the other characters) to create a better life, a better home. It all comes from love. That'south why I'm very pleased and excited that I've that much of a contribution for that character that makes everyone laugh, because if you laugh at me, you can laugh at your own parents."

When "Remington Steele" producers were looking to create changes in the supporting cast in one thousand nine hundred eighty-third after the show'south first season, they envisioned a new character, Mildred Krebs, as an appealing 35-year-old woman who could be a rival for the affections of Pierce Brosnan'south Steele.

Despite how the character was then delineated, Roberts, who'd recently won an Emmy for guesting on "St. Elsewhere," asked to read for the portion and won over executive producer Michael Gleason in her audition — and the character was changed to fit Roberts. She recurred in the second season and became a series regular thereafter, appearing in seventy-second episodes of the indicate from one thousand nine hundred eighty-third-87.

She earned her first Emmy for the fourth episode in the initial season of "St. Elsewhere," "Cora and Arnie," in which she and James Coco, longtime friends, played a homeless couple who face devastation as she learns her feet should be amputated, which will render her unable to care for the mentally challenged Arnie.

Recent film work included romantic comedy "All Over the Guy" (two thousand one); David Spade vehicle "Dickie Roberts: Former Baby Star" (two thousand three); comedies "Grandma'south Boy," "I-See-You. Com" and "Keeping Up With the Steins" (all two thousand six); the romantic comedy "Play the Game," in which she'd a substantial role opposite Andy Griffith; family adventure comedy "Aliens in the Attic" (two thousand nine); and Tyler Perry'south "Madea'south Witness Protection" (two thousand twelve), in which she played the mother of Eugene Levy'south character.

In a two thousand seven episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," Roberts played the ill, mistreated matriarch of an aristocratic NY family. In recent years the actress also guested on "Grey'south Anatomy," "The Center" (reuniting with "Raymond'south" Patricia Heaton), "Hot in Cleveland," "Desperate Housewives" and "Melissa & Joey."

Doris May Green was born in St. Louis. After Doris' father abandoned the family, her mother raised Doris in the Bronx with the aid of her own parents. Doris' stepfather, whose surname she took, was Chester H. Roberts. He and Doris' mother Ann operated stenographic service the Z. L. Rosenfield Agency, which catered to playwrights and actors.

In her brief time at NYU, Roberts studied journalism, but she soon moved to the Neighborhood Playhouse to study acting (later she joined the Actors Studio).

Roberts made her Broadway debut in one thousand nine hundred fifty-fifth in a revival of William Saroyan'south comedian play "The Time of Your Life." For the hit original comedy "The Desk Set," starring Shirley Booth, she played a supporting role and served as stage manager. After an absence from Broadway of a no of years, she appeared in "Marathon 'thirty-three," starring Julie Harris, in one thousand nine hundred sixty-three-64. She served as a standby for a couple of plays, then appeared in "The Natural See" in one thousand nine hundred sixty-seventh.

Roberts starred with James Coco and Linda Lavin in Neil Simon'south hit comedy "latest of the Ruddy Hot Lovers" in one thousand nine hundred sixty-nine-71. She appeared in "Bad Habits," a pairing of two Terrence McNally plays starring F. Murray Abraham, in one thousand nine hundred seventy-fourth, and made her final appearance on Broadway in one thousand nine hundred seventy-eighth in "Cheaters."

She'd appeared on television even before she made it to Broadway, making her small-screen debut in one thousand nine hundred fifty-first on the CBS show "Starlight Theatre" and appearing on shows including "Ben Casey" and "Naked City" in the one thousand nine hundred sixty.

Roberts made her film debut in one thousand nine hundred sixty-first'south "Something Wild." Later in the decade she'd tiny roles in "Barefoot in the Park" and "Divorce American Fashion" (both one thousand nine hundred sixty-seven) and somewhat larger roles in "No Way to Treat a Lady" and Kirk Douglas film "A Lovely Way to Die" (both one thousand nine hundred sixty-eight). The actress was fourth billed in the 1969 cult classic "The Honeymoon Killers."

In the one thousand nine hundred seventy her career picked up considerably both in film and on TV.

During the decade she guested on shows including "Mary Tyler Moore," "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" (as a faith healer), "All in the Family," "Rhoda" and "Barney Miller."

Roberts was originally intended to play Vivian, the character ultimately portrayed by Rue McClanahan, on "Maude," but the producers decided that her persona was too similar to that of series star Bea Arthur.

In one thousand nine hundred seventy-eighth she'd a legend arc on ABC'south seminal comedy "Soap" as the mother of Father Timothy Flotsky (Sal Viscuso) who curses her son for leaving the priesthood, makes a scene at his wedding, then dies on the wedding night.

In 1979-80 she was a series regular on the single-season sitcom "Angie," starring Donna Pescow as a Philadelphia waitress, with Roberts playing her mother. Roberts directed an episode of "Angie," her only such effort.

On "Alice" she guested as the mother of the title character, played by Linda Lavin, with whom she'd worked on Broadway. In the 'eighty she guested on "Cagney & Lacey," "Full House" and "Perfect Strangers," drawing an Emmy nomination for her performance on the last of these.

She picked up another Emmy nomination in one thousand nine hundred ninety-first for her work on a section of PBS' "American Playhouse" called "The Sunset Gang," about life in a retirement community. The actress complained to the L. A. Times when the indicate debuted: "I won an Emmy for a dramatic role on 'St. Elsewhere.' I've yet to be given a dramatic role (to do since) in this town. Comedy is what they keep me in. I came from NY theater. I'm an actress -- I do everything."

During the 'seventy she appeared in films including the Alan Arkin-directed "Little Murders," Elaine May'south "A New Leaf" and "The Heartbreak Kid," classic thriller "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" (playing the mayor'south wife), "Hester Street," Joan Rivers' disastrous "Rabbit Test" and "The Rose" (in which she briefly appeared as star Bette Midler'south mother).

She'd a tiny role as one of the grandmothers in the one thousand nine hundred eighty-nine Chevy Chase comedy "National Lampoon'south Christmas Vacation." During the 'ninety she appeared in films including "Used People," starring Shirley MacLaine and Marcello Mastroianni; Warren Leight'south romantic comedy "The Night We Never Met," starring Matthew Broderick and Anabella Sciorra; "The Grass Harp," with Sissy Spacek and Walter Matthau; and Billy Crystal comedy "My Giant."

Also during the decade she recurred on HBO comedy "Dream On" as Angie Pedalbee.

She starred in McNally'south "Unusual Acts of Devotion" at the La Jolla Playhouse in June two thousand nine.

In September two thousand two she testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging about age discrimination in Hollywood and how the problem is particularly acute for women. "Many of my friends, talented actresses in the 40- to 60-year-old range, are forced to live on unemployment or welfare because of the scarcity of roles for women in that age bracket," she declared in part.

She was the longtime chair of the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, using her Hollywood connections to fundraise.

Roberts was married twice, the first time to Michael Emilio Cannata from one thousand nine hundred fifty-six until their divorce in one thousand nine hundred sixty-second and the second time to novelist and playwright William Goyen, to whom she was married from 1963 until his death in 1983.

She's survived by her son Michael, from her first marriage, who was also her manager; and three grandchildren.

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