Doris Roberts

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Doris Roberts
Roberts in December 2010
Born Doris May Green
(1925-11-04) November 4, 1925 (age 89)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1951–present
Spouse(s) Michael E. Cannata (m. 1956; div. 1962)
William Goyen (m. 1963; died 1983)
Children 1 son

Doris May Roberts (née Green; November 4, 1925) is an American character actress of film, stage, and television. She has received five Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild award during her acting career, which began in 1952. She is perhaps best known for her role as Raymond Barone's mother, Marie Barone on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond (1996–2005).

Early life[edit]

Doris May Green[1] was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1925.[N 1][2] Her mother, Ann Meltzer, who was of Russian Jewish descent,[3] raised her daughter in the New York City borough of The Bronx with the assistance of her own parents, after her husband Larry deserted the family.[2][4]

Doris' stepfather, whose surname she took as her own, was Chester H. Roberts, whose name is included with Ann and Doris Green in the 1940 census as "lodger". Chester and Ann Roberts operated the Z.L. Rosenfield Agency, a stenographic service catering to playwrights and actors.[5]

Television and film career[edit]

Roberts' acting career began in 1952 with a role on the TV series Studio One. She appeared in episodes of The Naked City (1958–63), Way Out (1961), Ben Casey (1963), and The Defenders (1962–63). In 1961, she made her film debut in Something Wild (1961).[6] She appeared in such 1960s and 1970s cult films as A Lovely Way to Die, No Way to Treat a Lady, The Honeymoon Killers, Such Good Friends, Little Murders, A New Leaf, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and Hester Street. 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).

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 in Maude.[7] (Roberts later guest starred in a 1976 All in the Family episode, "Edith's Night Out".)

She has usually been cast as a mother or mother-in-law on television, i.e. as Theresa Falco on Angie. She later appeared as Mildred Krebs on Remington Steele. After that show 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 as the wife of a man who secretly went to a sex surrogate, and on Full House as Danny Tanner's mother. 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.[1]

Roberts achieved her widest fame for her role as Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond. She was reportedly one of 100 actresses considered for the role.[8] 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 previously won an Emmy for a guest appearance on St. Elsewhere, playing a homeless woman, and she was also nominated once 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, Roberts received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2006, she starred in Our House where she portrayed a wealthy woman who took homeless people in her house, and in the Adam Sandler-produced comedy Grandma's Boy. In 2007, she made a guest appearance on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In 2008, Roberts 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.

She 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 schoolteacher in the second season premiere episode of The Middle. This appearance reunited her with Patricia Heaton, her co-star from Everybody Loves Raymond; the character disliked Frankie. Roberts returned in two other episodes that season, "The Math Class" and the finale, "Back to Summer".

Stage career[edit]

Roberts' stage career began in the 1950s on Broadway. She has appeared in numerous Broadway shows including 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.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Roberts with Rip Taylor in November 2010

Roberts' first husband was Michael Cannata; they divorced in 1962. Their son, Michael Cannata, Jr. (born 1957) is her only child. He serves as her manager. She has three grandchildren: Kelsey, Andrew, and Devon. Her second husband was writer William Goyen. She was married to Goyen from 1963 until his death from leukemia on August 30, 1983.[10]

On September 4, 2002, she testified before a U.S. Congressional panel that age discrimination is prevalent in Hollywood, advocating that such discrimination be treated on par with biases against race and gender.[citation needed]

An avid cook, she wrote Are You Hungry, Dear? Life, Laughs, and Lasagna (in 2005), co-written with Danelle Morton and published by St. Martin's Press. In May 2005, she received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the University of South Carolina. An animal rights advocate, she has 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 the ATF and other law enforcement agencies. She is active with the Children with AIDS Foundation, of which she has served as the chairwoman. She currently lives in the Greater Los Angeles Area in a house once owned by iconic film actor James Dean.[1]

Roberts was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor on May 7, 2011.[citation needed]

Emmy Awards[edit]

  • 1983 — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — St. Elsewhere
  • 2001 — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series — Everybody Loves Raymond
  • 2002 — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series — Everybody Loves Raymond
  • 2003 — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series — Everybody Loves Raymond
  • 2005 — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series — Everybody Loves Raymond

Emmy Award nominations[edit]

  • 1985 — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Remington Steele
  • 1989 — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series — Perfect Strangers
  • 1991 — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special — The Sunset Gang
  • 1999 — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series — Everybody Loves Raymond
  • 2000 — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series — Everybody Loves Raymond
  • 2004 — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series — Everybody Loves Raymond

Outer Critics Circle[edit]

Selected filmography[edit]

Roberts in April 2011


  1. ^ a b c IMDb gives Roberts' birth name as Doris May Green
  2. ^ a b "Doris Green". 
    Name: Doris M Green
    Mother: Ann Green
    Birth: abt 1926 – Missouri
    Residence: New York, New York, New York
  3. ^ "Doris Roberts profile at Film". Retrieved July 6, 2010. 
  4. ^ Kelly Wilson (November 6, 2008). "Doris Roberts in the News". Retrieved July 6, 2010. 
  5. ^ "New York Times article, "Mrs. Chester Roberts"". June 19, 1974. Retrieved July 6, 2010. 
  6. ^ Something Wild (1961 film) profile,; accessed November 30, 2014.
  7. ^ "Rue McClanahan Interview, part 2 of 5". Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  8. ^ Larry King Live transcript, interview with Everybody Loves Raymond Cast, CNN, March 8, 2002
  9. ^ Mandell Weiss Theatre (June 28, 2009). "Unusual Acts of Devotion". Retrieved July 6, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Doris Roberts profile at". Retrieved July 6, 2010. 


  1. ^ Year of birth was 1925 per U.S. census of April 1940 at (Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: T627_2638; Page: 61B; Enumeration District: 31-646), which, aside from Doris M Green, aged 14, lists Ann Green, aged 46, as "Head" and Chester Roberts, Doris's future stepfather, aged 48, as "lodger"

External links[edit]