Man, this whole inevitability of death deal sucks.
Beloved theatre and television veteran Doris Roberts — known to most of us as Ray Romano’s sticky-beak mother from the classic sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond — is no longer with us.
The infectiously likable actress passed away on Sunday of yet-to-be-revealed causes, at age 90.
While it wasn’t until starring in Raymond in her 70’s that Roberts’ reached her peak of success, her sixty-something-year career is varied and storied, from her 1952 television debut to the string of recent guest starring roles in both film and TV during semi-retirement.
For the first twenty years of her career, Roberts appeared on television part time while focusing primarily on the stage. In 1955, she made her Broadway debut in William Saroyan’s classic play The Time of Your Life, after which she starred in both Broadway and off-Broadway productions including Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Bad Habits, and Bye Bye Birdie.
Her early television work included cameos in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Lily Tomlin Special, and All in the Family.
In the 70’s, Roberts' focus shifted to television, where she picked up regular roles in Angie, Maggie, and the award-winning sitcom Barney Miller. In 1983, she won her first Supporting Actress Emmy after wowing critics in a single episode of the ground breaking drama - St. Elsewhere, and joined the cast of Pierce Brosnan’s famed private investigator show - Remington Steele.
Of course, it was global juggernaut Everybody Loves Raymond, which is not only one of the most syndicated shows of all time, but boasts a bunch of international remakes, that made Roberts a household name. As the nagging, manipulative Marie Barone, she picked up four Emmys in five years, tying Cheers’ Rhea Perlman for most wins in the Supporting Actress in a Comedy category.
Right up until her passing, Roberts remained a bold force in the entertainment industry, and the tributes from those touched by her life are pouring in. Here’s co-star Patricia Heaton’s thoughtful tweet:
Meanwhile Ray Romano offered the following words:
"Doris Roberts had an energy and a spirit that amazed me. She never stopped. Whether working professionally or with her many charities, or just nurturing and mentoring a young, green comic trying to make it as an actor, she did it all with such a grand love for life and people and I will miss her dearly."
What better way to say farewell to this cherished entertainer than with a quote from her mid-Raymond days:
“I’m comfortable in my own skin. The business of wanting, or thinking, or dreaming that someone else will fulfil your dreams is wrong. You make yourself a better person. This is my time. I am in control of my life. I am fearless. I love what I do. I’m blessed. I pray that everybody can find something they do that they love. Then it’s not work, it’s really a profession. It’s a joy to do it. You’re scared by it, and you’re challenged by it. That is what keeps you alive.”
Vale, Doris Roberts.