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Doris Roberts
Roberts in April 2011
Doris May Green

(1925-11-04)November 4, 1925
Died April 17, 2016(2016-04-17) (aged 90)
Resting place Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
Occupation Actress
Years active 1951–2016
Michael E. Cannata
(m. 1956; div. 1962)
William Goyen
(m. 1963; died 1983)
Children 1

Doris May Roberts (née Green; November 4, 1925 – April 17, 2016) was an American actress whose career spanned seven decades of television and film. She received five Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild award during her acting career, which began in 1951.

Roberts studied acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City and started in films in 1961. She had several prominent roles in movies, including playing opposite Shirley Stoler in The Honeymoon Killers (1970), Elliott Gould in Little Murders (1971), Steven Keats in Hester Street (1975), Billy Crystal in Rabbit Test (1978), Robert Carradine in Number One with a Bullet (1987), and Cady McClain in Simple Justice (1989), among many others.

She achieved continuing success in television, becoming known for her role as Mildred Krebs in Remington Steele from 1983 to 1987 and her co-starring role as Raymond Barone's mother, Marie Barone, on the long-running CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond (1996–2005). Towards the end of her acting career, she also had a prominent role opposite Tyler Perry in Madea's Witness Protection (2012).

She appeared as a guest on many talk and variety shows, as well as a panelist on several game shows. She was an advocate of animal rights and animal rights activism, supporting groups such as the United Activists for Animal Rights.

Early life

Doris May Green was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants. She was raised by her mother, Ann (née Meltzer), and her maternal grandparents in The Bronx, New York, after her father, Larry Green, deserted the family. Roberts' stepfather, whose surname she took as her own, was Chester H. Roberts. Chester and Roberts' mother operated the Z.L. Rosenfield Agency, a stenographic service catering to playwrights and actors.


Film and television

Roberts' acting career began in 1951 with a role on the TV series Studio One. She appeared in episodes of The Naked City (1958-1963), Way Out (1961), Ben Casey (1963), and The Defenders (1962-1963). In 1961, she made her film debut in Something Wild (1961).

She appeared in such 1960s/1970s films as A Lovely Way to Die, No Way to Treat a Lady, The Honeymoon Killers, Such Good Friends, Little Murders, and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. In 1978, she appeared in a film about John F. Kennedy's assassination, Ruby and Oswald, in which she played Jack Ruby's sister. She also appeared very briefly in The Rose, as the mother of the title character played by Bette Midler.

James Coco & Doris Roberts (4506536642)
Roberts in 1980 at the premiere of Seems Like Old Times, taken by Alan Light

In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Rue McClanahan confirmed that in 1972 she was approached by Norman Lear during the taping of an All in the Family episode to be a late replacement for Roberts, who was originally intended for the role of Vivian on Maude. (Roberts later guest starred in a 1976 All in the Family episode, "Edith's Night Out" as a bar patron who befriended Edith.) Roberts played Theresa Falco on Angie, and later appeared as Mildred Krebs on Remington Steele.

After Remington Steele ended, she starred in the TV movie remake of If It's Tuesday, It Still Must Be Belgium (1987) and the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989). She appeared on Alice, playing the mother of the title character (played by her former Broadway co-star Linda Lavin); on Barney Miller in two different roles; and on Full House as Danny Tanner's mother, Claire. She played the unhinged Flo Flotsky on four episodes of Soap; Dorelda Doremus, a faith healer, on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; and lonely Aunt Edna on Step by Step.

Roberts in 2010

Roberts achieved much of her fame for her role as Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond. She was reportedly one of 100 actresses considered for the role. For her work on the series, she was nominated for seven Emmy Awards (and won four times) for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She had previously won an Emmy for a guest appearance on St. Elsewhere, playing a homeless woman, and was also once nominated for her role on Remington Steele. She was nominated for appearances on Perfect Strangers and a PBS special called The Sunset Gang. In 2003, she made a guest appearance as Gordo's grandmother in Lizzie McGuire. The same year, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2006, she starred in Our House as a wealthy woman who took in homeless people into her own house, and in Grandma's Boy.

In 2007, she made a guest appearance on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In 2008, she appeared in the romantic comedy Play the Game alongside Andy Griffith, who plays a lonely widowed grandfather re-entering the dating world after a 60-year hiatus. Roberts appeared in the 2009 film Aliens in the Attic, which was filmed in Auckland, New Zealand. She played George Needleman's mother in Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection (2012).

On September 23, 2010, she played Ms. Rinsky, Brick Heck's teacher in the second-season premiere episode of The Middle. This appearance reunited her with Patricia Heaton, her co-star from Everybody Loves Raymond. The two women's characters, of course, clash, with Heaton's Frankie Heck always managing to get pushed out of sorts into disastrous action usually resulting in some kind of public chastisement by Roberts' Rinsky, an expert at passive-aggressive manipulation. Roberts returned in two other episodes that season, "The Math Class" and the finale, "Back to Summer". In 2013 she was a special guest star in the Major Crimes episode "There’s No Place Like Home".


Roberts' stage career began in the 1950s on Broadway. She appeared in numerous Broadway shows including William Marchant's The Desk Set (with Shirley Booth), Neil Simon's The Last of the Red Hot Lovers (with James Coco and Linda Lavin) and Terrence McNally's Bad Habits. She starred in McNally's Unusual Acts of Devotion at the LaJolla Playhouse in June 2009.


In May 2005, Roberts received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the University of South Carolina. She was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor on May 7, 2011. She was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in February 2003, at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.

Advocacy and other work

On September 4, 2002, Roberts testified before a U.S. Congressional panel that age discrimination was prevalent in Hollywood. She was a registered Democrat.

An animal rights advocate, Roberts worked with the group Puppies Behind Bars, which works with inmates in training guide dogs and assistance dogs for the physically disabled and elderly, as well as dogs trained in explosives detection to be used by law enforcement agencies. She was also active with the Children with AIDS Foundation, where she served as chairwoman.

With Danelle Morton, Roberts wrote Are You Hungry, Dear? Life, Laughs, and Lasagna. The book was published by St. Martin's Press in 2003, and serves as a memoir as well as a collection of some of Roberts' recipes.

Personal life

Roberts married Michael Cannata in 1956; they divorced in 1962. They had one son. She had three grandchildren. Her second husband was writer William Goyen and they were married from 1963 until his death from leukemia in 1983.


Roberts died in her sleep on April 17, 2016, at her home in Los Angeles following a stroke, at the age of 90. She had also suffered from pulmonary hypertension for many years before her death. Just a month after her death she was memorialized in New York City, where a public tribute was held at the Ambassador Theatre, where she appeared in 1972 in The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild with Maureen Stapleton. Among the stars attending the service were Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton (her co-stars from Everybody Loves Raymond) and actor David Hyde Pierce.

In another interview Romano jokingly referred to the kissing thing that Roberts would do off-camera: "You know how great she was then!" He also added: "We had a little get together for her. She was one of a kind. She can outwork it, outdrink it, good kisser, I was joking! I appreciated her." Just a month after her death, he said:

Here's how good she was: She played the most intrusive, overbearing, nosy woman—always starting fights and whatnot and meddling in our business—and yet when I asked the fans who their favorite character was, all the time it was her. She was so good at portraying the love that was underneath.

She was interred at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles, California.



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1961 Something Wild Mary Ann's Co-Worker
1964 Dear Heart Desk Clerk Uncredited
1967 Barefoot in the Park Hotel Maid Uncredited
Divorce American Style Hypnotic Subject Uncredited
1968 No Way to Treat a Lady Sylvia Poppie
A Lovely Way to Die Feeney Uncredited
1970 The Honeymoon Killers Bunny
1971 Little Murders Mrs. Chamberlain
A New Leaf Mrs. Traggert
Such Good Friends Mrs. Gold
1972 The Heartbreak Kid Mrs. Cantrow
1974 The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Jessie, Mayor's Wife
1975 Hester Street Mrs. Kavarsky
Blood Bath Mrs. Lambert
1978 Rabbit Test Mrs. Carpenter
Once in Paris... Brady's ex-Wife
1979 Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff Marie
The Rose Mrs. Foster Loosely based on the life of singer Janis Joplin
1987 Number One with a Bullet Mrs. Barzak
1989 National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Frances Smith
Simple Justice Anna DiLorenzo
1990 The Ladies on Sweet Street Bea
1992 Used People Aunt Lonnie
1993 The Night We Never Met Lion's Den Nosy Neighbor
1994 Taffy
1995 The Grass Harp Mrs. Richards
1997 Walking to Waldheim Mina Goldblatt Short drama film
Sea World and Busch Gardens Adventures: Alien Vacation! Marie
1998 My Giant Rose Kaminski
A Fish in the Bathtub Frieda
The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue Auntie Shrew (voice)
2001 All Over the Guy Esther
2003 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Peggy Roberts
2006 Grandma's Boy Grandma Lilly
I-See-You.Com Doris Bellinger
Keeping Up with the Steins Rose Fielder
2009 Play the Game Rose Sherman
Aliens in the Attic Nana Rose Pearson
2010 Another Harvest Moon Alice
2012 Margarine Wars Grandma Betty Johansson
Madea's Witness Protection Barbara
2014 The Little Rascals Save the Day Grandma
2015 No Deposit Kat Nugent
The Secret of Joy Grandma Short
2016 The Red Maple Leaf Mrs. Samantha Adams Posthumous release
The Escort Margaret Short; posthumous release
Job's Daughter Ruth Morrison Posthumous release (final feature film role)
2018 Zizi and Honeyboy Zizi Short; posthumous release (final role)


Year Title Role Notes
1951 Starlight Theatre Operator Episode: "Act of God Notwithstanding"
1952 Studio One in Hollywood The Madwoman Episode: "Jane Eyre"
Suspense Woman Episode: "A Time on Innocence"
1954 Look Up and Live Minnah Episode: "Rider Number Six"
1961 'Way Out Edna Episode: "Side Show"
1962 Naked City Miss Tresant Episode: "One of the Most Important Men in the Whole World"
1963 Ben Casey Claire Forest Episode: "Father Was an Intern"
1969 CBS Playhouse Shimmy Episode: "Shadow Game"
1975 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Helen Ferrell Episode: "Phyllis Whips Inflation"
Medical Center Gladys Callahan Episode: "Two Against Death"
Baretta Mrs. Asher Episode: "Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth"
1976 All in the Family Marge Episode: "Edith's Night Out"
Viva Valdez Gladys Episode: "The Nurse's Pipes"
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Dorelda Doremus 3 episodes
The Streets of San Francisco Mrs. Strauss "The Thrill Killers" (Parts I and II)
Family Etta Episode: "Home Movie"
Rhoda Sylvia Levy Episode: "Meet the Levys"
1977 It Happened One Christmas Ma Bailey TV movie
1978–1980 Barney Miller Louise Kaufmann / Harriet Brauer 1 + 3 episodes
1978 Soap Flo Flotsky 4 episodes
1979–1980 Angie Theresa Falco 36 episodes (actress); 1 episode (director)
1979 Fantasy Island Marjorie Gibbs Episode: "Goose for the Gander/The Stuntman"
1980 The Diary of Anne Frank Mrs. Van Daan TV movie
Fantasy Island Madam Clooney Episode: "Delphine/The Unkillable"
The Love Boat Rose Episode: "Sergeant Bull"
1981–1982 Maggie Loretta 8 episodes
Alice Mona Spivak 2 episodes
1982 St. Elsewhere Cora Episode: "Cora and Arnie"
1983 Romance Theatre Maggie 5 episodes
Cagney & Lacey Helen Freitas Episode: "Jane Doe #37"
1983–1987 Remington Steele Mildred Krebs Recurring: season 2, main role: seasons 3-5 (71 episodes)
1985 California Girls Mrs. Bowzer TV movie
1986 Mr. Belvedere Judge Westphall Episode: "Deportation: Part 2"
1989 Perfect Strangers Mrs. Bailey Episode: "Maid to Order"
1990 Full House Claire Tanner Episode: "Granny Tanny"
Murder, She Wrote Helen Owens Episode: "Shear Madness"
Blind Faith Tessie McBride Miniseries
A Mom for Christmas Philomena TV movie
1991 Empty Nest Aunt Retha Episode: "The Last Temptation of Laverne"
American Playhouse Mimi Finkelstein Episode: "The Sunset Gang"
1993 The Boys Doris Greenblat 6 episodes
The John Larroquette Show Mrs. Shenker Episode: "Pilot"
1993–1995 Dream On Angie Pedalbee 6 episodes
1994 Murder, She Wrote Mrs. Leah Colfax Episode: "The Murder Channel"
Step by Step Aunt Edna Episode: "I'll Be Home for Christmas"
A Time to Heal Maddy TV movie
1995 Walker, Texas Ranger Elaine Portugal Episode: "The Big Bingo Bamboozle"
1996–2005 Everybody Loves Raymond Marie Barone Main role (210 episodes)
1997 A Thousand Men and a Baby Sister Philomena TV movie
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Eunice / Doris (voice) Episode: "Watch the Watch/She Likes Me?"
1999 The King of Queens Marie Barone Episode: "Rayny Day"
2000 The Wild Thornberrys Cow #1 (voice) Episode: "Critical Masai"
One True Love Lillian TV movie
2001 The Sons of Mistletoe Margie TV movie
2002 Touched by an Angel Rose Episode: "The Bells of St. Peters"
2003 Lizzie McGuire Grandma Ruth Episode: "Grand Ole' Grandma"
A Time to Remember Maggie Calhoun TV movie
2004 Raising Waylon Great Aunt Marie TV movie
Sesame Street Herself Episode: "The Street We Live On"
2006 Our House Ruth TV movie
Me, Eloise (voice) Episode: "Eloise Goes to School Part 1"
2007 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Virginia Harrington Episode: "Privilege"
2009 Mrs. Miracle Mrs. Emily Merkle TV movie
2010 Miracle in Manhattan Mrs. Miracle TV movie; originally titled Call Me Mrs. Miracle
2010–2011 The Middle Mrs. Rinsky 3 episodes
2011 Special Agent Oso Lena's Grandma (voice) Episode: "Lost and Get Found/A View to the Truth"
Grey's Anatomy Gladys Polcher Episode: "It's a Long Way Back"
Hot in Cleveland Lydia Episode: "Dancing Queens"
Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension Mrs. Thompson (voice) Disney Channel original movie
2012 Desperate Housewives Doris Hammond Episode: "Lost My Power"
2013 Major Crimes Vera Walker Episode: "There's No Place Like Home"
2013–2014 Melissa & Joey Sofia 3 episodes
2014 Touched by Romance Norma TV movie
The Birthday Boys Mrs. Steenburg Episode: "Freshy's"
2015 Merry Kissmas Mrs. Billing TV movie
2016 Adam Astra Casting Dame Daisy Phillips / Lois Willard / Lana delPeno / Carla Lockwood / Cleo Benington TV movie


Year Title Role Venue Dates Ref.
1955 The Time of Your Life CityCenter January 19 - January 30
The Desk Set Miss Rumple Broadhurst Theatre October 24, 1955 - July 7, 1956
1963 Marathon '33 Rae Wilson ANTA Playhouse December 22, 1963 - February 1, 1964
1966 Malcolm Standby for:
Shubert Theatre January 11 - January 15
The Office Miss Punk Henry Miller's Theatre Never officially opened - April 30, 1966
Under the Weather Standby for: Shelley Winters as Flora Sharkey / Marcella Vankuchen / Hilda Cort Theatre October 27 - November 5
1967 The Natural Look Edna Longacre Theatre March 11 - March 11
1969 Last of the Red Hot Lovers Jeanette Fisher Eugene O'Neill Theater Center December 28, 1969 - September 4, 1971
1972 The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild
Ambassador Theatre November 14 - December 2
1974 Bad Habits Dolly Scupp Booth Theatre May 5 - October 5
1978 Cheaters Grace Biltmore Theatre January 15 - February 11

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
1983 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series St. Elsewhere Won
1985 Remington Steele Nominated
1989 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Perfect Strangers Nominated
1991 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special American Playhouse Nominated
1999 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Everybody Loves Raymond Nominated
2000 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2001 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Won
Online Film & Television Association Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2002 American Film Institute Actor of the Year - Female - TV Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Won
Online Film & Television Association Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2003 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Won
2004 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2005 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Won
2015 Hang Onto Your Shorts Film Festival Best Actress in a Short Film Zizi and Honeyboy Nominated
CineRockom International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award Won

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Doris Roberts para niños

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