Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal worked with Doris Roberts for nine seasons on the hit CBS sitcom, and now the showrunner is remembering the late actress, who died Sunday, by recalling a touching moment he shared with her and an unlikely Raymond fan: Lady Gaga.
In a guest column written for The Hollywood Reporter, Rosenthal describes the last time he saw Roberts at the Hollywood Bowl during the Los Angeles stop of Gaga and Tony Bennett’s Cheek to Cheek Tour in 2015.
“We had a lovely time and we went backstage and we met Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, and Lady Gaga gushed all over. She couldn’t believe she was meeting Doris. She loved Doris,” Rosenthal said, noting he was surprised Gaga was familiar with the show and Roberts’ prolific career. “[Gaga] was a fan and that was something, because here’s somebody that you wouldn’t expect to be an Everybody Loves Raymond fan or a Marie Barone fan.”
Roberts previously tweeted a photo of herself with Gaga and Bennett after the show. “Here’s a great moment from 2015… Extraordinary!” she wrote.
The touching reflection also includes details on Roberts’ audition for her Everybody Loves Raymond role, a character which is based on Rosenthal’s real-life mother. Though Rosenthal says over 100 women were considered for the role, there “wasn’t even a close second” when it came to Roberts’ read. “She went onto, over the years, create a character based on our writing for her that was indelible,” he wrote. “She was a very strong character, and really funny and kind of a rock in the center of the show, and kind of a rock in the center of our lives on the show because she was very, very nurturing and supportive of everyone around her.”
Other Raymond stars, including the actors who played Roberts’ onscreen children, Ray Romano and Brad Garrett, have paid tribute to the actress as well. “Doris Roberts had an energy and a spirit that amazed me. She never stopped,” a statement from Romano read. “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.”