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Doris Roberts

Doris Roberts

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Also Known As: Doris May Green Died: April 17, 2016
Born: November 4, 1925 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: St Louis, Missouri, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Doris Roberts was a 20-year veteran of the Broadway stage before she began appearing steadily in character roles in film and on television during the 1970s. A versatile player with an inescapably "mom-like" presence, she was adept at playing sympathetic roles but made her most memorable mark as hard-boiled dames, gossips, and nags who were often too savvy of the ways of the world to be fooled by anyone. Roberts built up some face recognition with regular appearances in the sitcoms "Mary Hartman Mary Hartman" (syndicated, 1976-77) and "Angie" (ABC, 1979-1980) but truly came into her own as a widely known comedienne in 1995 when she was cast as the meddling, strong-willed family matriarch on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS, 1996-2005). The show became of the best-loved sitcoms in history, and Roberts earned seven Emmy nominations and four wins for her colorful characterization. Well past the common age of retirement and well past the show's celebrated end, Roberts maintained a reputation as one of the big and small screen's most iconic mothers, and she continued to be a welcome sight as a television guest star and film player.Born on Nov. 4, 1930, Roberts was raised in the Bronx, NY where her mother ran...

Doris Roberts was a 20-year veteran of the Broadway stage before she began appearing steadily in character roles in film and on television during the 1970s. A versatile player with an inescapably "mom-like" presence, she was adept at playing sympathetic roles but made her most memorable mark as hard-boiled dames, gossips, and nags who were often too savvy of the ways of the world to be fooled by anyone. Roberts built up some face recognition with regular appearances in the sitcoms "Mary Hartman Mary Hartman" (syndicated, 1976-77) and "Angie" (ABC, 1979-1980) but truly came into her own as a widely known comedienne in 1995 when she was cast as the meddling, strong-willed family matriarch on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS, 1996-2005). The show became of the best-loved sitcoms in history, and Roberts earned seven Emmy nominations and four wins for her colorful characterization. Well past the common age of retirement and well past the show's celebrated end, Roberts maintained a reputation as one of the big and small screen's most iconic mothers, and she continued to be a welcome sight as a television guest star and film player.

Born on Nov. 4, 1930, Roberts was raised in the Bronx, NY where her mother ran a stenography service that catered to the theater community. Roberts herself was interested in the entertainment world, and often cut school to indulge in matinees at the cinema or theater. She spent a short time pursuing journalism at New York University but her dramatic flair led her to abandon that pursuit to study acting with Sanford Meisner at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse School and with Lee Strasberg at the famed Actor's Studio. She made her professional stage debut at City Center in 1955 in William Saroyan's "The Time of Your Life" and began to pick up character roles on New York-based soaps and live television dramas, as well as in films including "The Out-of-Towners" (1964), "Barefoot in the Park" (1967) and the cult classic "The Honeymoon Killers" (1970). Notable stage performances of the era included a featured role in Neil Simon's "Last of the Red Hot Lovers" (1969), Paul Zindel's "The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild" (1972) and Terrence McNally's "Bad Habits" (1974), for which Roberts earned an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress. The same year, she had a memorable film role as the New York City mayor's ambitious wife in "The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3" (1974).

Roberts scored critical notice in 1975 for "Hester Street," the Joan Micklin Silver movie about life on the Lower East Side of Manhattan at the turn of the century. Buoyed by her enviable success as a steadily working actress, Roberts moved to Hollywood that year and scored immediate attention for her first assignment, an episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (CBS, 1970-77) in which she played a curt employment agency worker helping Phyllis find a job. In 1976, Roberts made another memorable episodic appearance on "All in the Family" (CBS, 1971-79), as a hard-edged dame who takes Edith under her wing when she boldly decides to go to Kelsey's Bar on her own. She soon had a regular series role as a scamming evangelist on the soap opera satire, "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." Roberts appeared in a pair of TV movies, playing the wife of a TV writer who fears his script has triggered a crime in "The Storyteller" (NBC, 1977), and mother to Marlo Thomas in "It Happened One Christmas" (ABC). She returned to prime time sitcoms with "Angie." Well remembered by TV fans even though it only lasted a season and a half on the airwaves, the show featured Roberts as a working class Philadelphia mother whose daughter (Donna Pescow) "marries up" to a blueblood doctor, played by Robert Hays.

Roberts had a supporting role as Bette Midler's mother in "The Rose" (1979) and became a regular on "Maggie" (ABC, 1981-82) as a hairdresser who gabs with the title character, an Erma Bombeck-like writer. She gave a Emmy-winning performance as a bag lady in a 1982 episode of NBC's "St. Elsewhere" (NBC, 1982-88) and was a memorable guest on "Remington Steele" (NBC, 1983-87), as well as the grandmother of the kids on "Full House" (ABC, 1989) who drives their household crazy after her retirement, and as mother to Toby (Denny Dillon) on the HBO sitcom, "Dream On." She earned her fourth Emmy nomination in 1991 for the American Playhouse drama "The Sunset Gang" (PBS) in which she played one of a group of seniors living in a retirement village. After giving her all to one more short-lived sitcom, "The Boys" (CBS, 1993), the 63-year-old snared the highest-profile role of her long and varied career, that of Ray Romano's "meddlesome, intrusive mother-from-hell on "Everybody Loves Raymond." The adult-oriented comedy about three generations of the same family living side by side in a New York City neighborhood was a consistent ratings winner for its irreverent humor, underlying sweetness, and beloved cast, including Roberts, who garnered multiple Emmy nominations and four wins as Best Supporting Actress in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005.

An overnight celebrity, Roberts used her status to speak out against ageism in Hollywood, recalling how 100 actresses had auditioned for her "Raymond" role â¿¿ one of the rare parts in town for an older actress. She co-authored Are You Hungry, Dear?, a memoir and cookbook based on her character's penchant for stuffing her family's faces. In 2001, she essayed a salty receptionist in the indie comedy "All Over the Guy" and cameoed as David Spade's hard-driving stage mother in the 2003 comedy, "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star." In an excellent performance as another kind of family matriarch â¿¿ one suffering from the onset of Alzheimer's â¿¿ Roberts co-starred in the Thanksgiving telepic "A Time to Remember" (2003). After "Raymond" wrapped in 2005, Roberts was tapped for roles in a number of big screen comedies including Adam Sandler's "Grandma's Boy" (2006), "Play the Game" (2008) and "They Came from Upstairs" (2009). Following a return to the stage in Nora and Delia Ephronâ¿¿s off-Broadway hit "Love, Loss and What I Wore" (2010), Roberts reunited with "Raymond" co-star Patricia Heaton with a recurring guest starring role as a third grade teacher on the sitcom "The Middle" (ABC, 2009- ). She went had more guest starring roles on "Greyâ¿¿s Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ) and "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012), and delivered a deft comic performance as Betty Whiteâ¿¿s nemesis on "Hot in Cleveland" (TV Land, 2010- ).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Merry Kissmas (2015)
4.
5.
 Margarine Wars (2011)
6.
7.
 Play the Game (2009)
8.
 Mrs. Miracle (2009)
9.
10.
 Grandma's Boy (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1952:
Made TV acting debut in "Jane Eyre" on CBS' "Studio One"
1955:
Made her stage acting debut in "The Time of Your Life"
1961:
Made feature film debut in "Something Wild"
1968:
Acted in "No Way to Treat a Lady"
1969:
Co-starred in Neil Simon's Broadway production of "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers" with James Coco and Linda Lavin
1971:
Appeared in Elaine May's comedy "A New Leaf"
1972:
Re-teamed with May for a supporting role in "The Heartbreak Kid"; scripted by Neil Simon
1974:
Acted opposite Walter Matthau in "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three"
1975:
Garnered attention for her stage performance in Terrence McNally's "Bad Habits"
:
Made a popular series of commercials for Glade air freshener
1976:
Portrayed Dorelda Doremus on the syndicated spoof of soap operas "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"
1977:
Played Martin Balsam's wife in the award-winning TV-movie "The Storyteller" (NBC)
1979:
Cast as the title character's meddling mother on the ABC sitcom "Angie"
1979:
Had small role as Bette Midler's mother in "The Rose"
1980:
Teamed with James Coco as Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan in the NBC remake of "The Diary of Anne Frank"
1981:
Co-starred on the ABC sitcom "Maggie"
1982:
Had a memorable guest appearance as a bag lady appearing opposite James Coco on NBC's "St. Elsewhere"
1983:
Cast as the efficient secretary Mildred Krebs on "Remington Steele" (NBC); garnered an Emmy nomination in 1985
1989:
Picked up an Emmy nomination for a guest appearance on the ABC sitcom "Perfect Strangers"
1991:
Earned fourth career Emmy nomination for a supporting role in the PBS production of "The Sunset Gang" (aired on "American Playhouse")
1992:
Acted in the feature "Used People
1993:
Recurring role as mother to Denny Dillon's Toby on the HBO series "Dream On"
1993:
Featured on the short-lived CBS sitcom "The Boys"
1995:
Appeared in the film "The Grass Harp"
1996:
Played Marie Romano, the title character's mother, on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS); received Emmy (1999, 2000, 2001, 2004) and SAG (2004, 2005) nominations for Best Supporting Actress
2001:
Cast as a tart-tongued receptionist at an AIDS testing center in "All Over the Guy"
2003:
Appeared in the comedy feature "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" opposite David Spade
2006:
Played the ex-wife of Garry Marshall in the indie comedy "Keeping Up with the Steins"; directed by Marshall's son Scott
2009:
Starred in the title role in the Hallmark Channel movie "Mrs. Miracle"
2010:
Cast in Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron¿s hit off-Broadway comedy "Love, Loss and What I Wore"
2010:
Reunited with "Raymond" co-star Patricia Heaton with a recurring guest starring role on Heaton's ABC sitcom "The Middle"
2010:
Reprised titular role in Hallmark Channel sequel "Call Me Mrs. Miracle"
2012:
Appeared in the comedy "Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection"
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Education

New York University: New York , New York -
The Neigborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre: New York , New York -
Actors Studio: New York , New York -

Notes

Some sources list 1925 as Ms. Roberts' birth year. When she won her second Emmy in 2001, though, she claimed that it was her 71st birthday, which would mean she was born in 1930.

"I've never been an ingenue. I have this deep voice and fat, chubby hands. I'm a character actress." --Doris Roberts quoted in People, June 5, 2000.

Roberts penned a book of life lessons, Are You Hungry, Dear?, which sold to St. Martin's Press in June 2002

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Michael Cannata. Attorney. Divorced in 1962.
husband:
William Goyen. Novelist. Married from 1962 until his death from leukemia in 1982.
companion:
Jack Betts. Actor.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Ann Meltzer. Divorced from Roberts' father.
step-father:
Bob Roberts.
son:
Michael Cannata. Manager. Born c. 1957.

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