Doris Roberts, the Emmy-winning actress who played the overbearing but well-intentioned matriarch Marie Barone on the long-running sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, died Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 90.
Her manager Sandra L. Joseph confirmed the news to EW.
A veteran character actress on stage and screen, Roberts was best known for her work opposite Ray Romano on the eponymous show he created with Phil Rosenthal, about the favored son (Romano) of a multigenerational family on Long Island. Along with paterfamilias Frank (Peter Boyle), Roberts’ Marie meddled in Ray’s life, clashed with his wife (Patricia Heaton), and overlooked his towering older brother (Brad Garrett).
Romano said in a statement, “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 green young comic trying to make it as an actor, she did everything with such a grand love for life and people and I will miss her dearly.”
Rosenthal paid tribute to Roberts on Twitter, writing, “We loved our mom, the great #DorisRoberts. A wonderful, funny, indelible actress and friend.”
Roberts won four Emmys for her work on Raymond, which ran from 1996 to 2005, and another on and another on the 1980s medical drama St. Elsewhere.
Born Doris May Green in St. Louis, she moved to the Bronx, New York, as a child to live with her mother’s parents after her father abandoned the family. Roberts eventually took her stepfather’s name when her mother remarried. She briefly studied journalism at NYU before dropping out to pursue acting full time.
Roberts made her television debut in 1951 on Starlight Theatre, her Broadway debut in a revival of William Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life, and her film debut in 1961’s Something Wild.
As her screen career picked up, she appeared in such TV shows as Mary Tyler Moore, All in the Family, Angie, Barney Miller, The Love Boat, and Remington Steele, and films including The Heartbreak Kid, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Used People, and My Giant.
In 2002, Roberts spoke before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging about ageism in Hollywood.
“I would like the word ‘old’ to be stricken from our vocabulary and replaced with the word ‘older,'” she said. “My contemporaries and I are denigrated as ‘old,’ old coots, old fogies, old codgers, old geezers, old hags, old timers and old farts. In truth, the minute you are born, you are getting older, and the later years can be some of life’s most productive and creative.”