LOS ANGELES • Emmy-winning actress Doris Roberts, matriarch of the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, died of natural causes on Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 90.
She picked up Best Supporting Actress four times in the early 2000s for her portrayal of Marie Barone, mother of Ray Romano’s sportswriter character on the show, which ran for nine seasons from 1996 to 2005.
“Truly the end of an era,” said Patricia Heaton, who played Roberts’ daughter-in-law. “My wonderful TV mother-in-law and ELR (Everybody Loves Raymond) nemesis Doris Roberts was a consummate professional from whom I learnt so much. She was funny and tough and loved life.”
Roberts carved a niche in matriarchal roles in the 1980s, including as Donna Pescow’s mother on the ABC series Angie (1979-1980) and as receptionist Mildred Krebs on the NBC detective series Remington Steele (1982-1987). She won her first of five Emmys in 1983 for a one season guest role on the medical drama St. Elsewhere (1982-1988).
Raised by her single mother in the Bronx, she got her break on Broadway in the play The Time Of Your Life in 1955. She moved to California to appear in ABC’s The Lily Tomlin Comedy Hour in 1975.
She appeared in 34 films over more than half a century, including 1961’s Something Wild, 1969’s The Honeymoon Killers and 1974’s The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three.
She also had guest roles in Law And Order: Criminal Intent, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives.
But she was best known for her role as Marie, the interfering, manipulative mother of Long Island-based Italian-American sportswriter Raymond Barone.
Phil Rosenthal, a producer on Everybody Loves Raymond, tweeted: “We loved our mom, the great #DorisRoberts. A wonderful, funny, indelible actress and friend.”
Roberts was married to novelist William Goyen for 22 years, until his death from leukaemia in 1983. She had one son and three grandchildren from a previous marriage.
Romano said: “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... a green, young comic trying to make it as an actor, she did everything with such a grand love for life and people.”