Doris Roberts booking
The versatile actress in 2001 was selected by the prestigious American Film Institute as one of four actresses of the year. The well-deserved honor came the same year she won her second Emmy, Television’s pre-eminent recognition of artistry, for her role as the beloved, but meddlesome mother on the popular CBS series “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
Earlier, Ms. Roberts had received eight Emmy nominations for both dramatic and comedic work on “Remington Steele,” “Full House,” “The Sunset Gang,” and as the bag lady in “St. Elsewhere,” which resulted in her first Emmy Award. Throughout those distinctive television achievements, Doris has been a three-time winner of the Viewers for Quality Television award, the 2001 TV Guide Award and in the same year was named Best Actress in a Comedy role by the American Comedy Awards and, for her stage performance in “24 Hours,” the Los Angeles Weekly Award, just a few of the accolades that have recognized her artistic achievements.
Doris knew she would become a professional actress when she made her debut at the age of six, portraying a potato in a school play. When her first line got big laughs, she liked it and decided to pursue the limelight by entering the popular Hearn’s Amateur Hour radio talent contest. Singing “Winter Wonderland” with a lisp, she got the gong, the bell, the whistle and finally the hook, rejection that might have disillusioned other youngsters but only spurred her on to learn her craft. Supported in her theatrical ambitions by her mother, she was taken as a young girl to Broadway matinees, where she stood in back of the theater carefully studying the performers she saw and dreaming to be one of them. That dream came true in 1955, when Doris debuted on Broadway in William Saroyan’s classic “The Time of Your Life” and the following year was asked to understudy one of the great ladies of the American stage, Shirley Booth, in “Desk Set.” Even with that impressive recognition of her innate acting abilities, she decided she needed professional training and joined the famed Actors Studio, where her peer students were also to become illustrious performers, among them Marilyn Monroe, Kim Stanley and Maureen Stapleton.
The New York theater continued to beckon the young actress, who subsequently appeared both on and off Broadway in numerous successful productions, including “It’s Only a Play,” “Desk Set,” “The American Dream,” “The Death of Bessie Smith,” “The Office,” “Marathon 33,” “The Color of Darkness,” “The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild,” “The Natural Look,” “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” “Cheaters,” and “Bad Habits” for which she won the Outer Critics Circle Award. Lily Tomlin coaxed Doris away from Broadway to join her comedy series, “The Lily Tomlin Comedy Hour,” initiating a new and thriving career in television. Doris became one of the medium’s most successful stars as a series regular on “Angie,” “The Boys,” “Ladies on Sweet Street,” “Remington Steele,” “Maggie,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Comedy Hour,” and, of course, for the past six seasons on “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
Coincidentally, Doris also managed to fit in guest starring roles on “Mary Tyler Moore,” “Rhoda,” “Amazing Grace,” “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Step By Step,” “Dream On,” “Burke’s Law,” “Baretta,” “St. Elsewhere,” “Empty Nest,” “John Larroquette,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Barney Miller,” “Mary Hartman,” “Soap,” “Full House,” and “Murder She Wrote.” Producers of movies for television were quick to take advantage of the actress’ popularity and wooed her for key roles in “A Thousand Men and a Baby,” “A Time To Heal,” “Blind Faith,” “Sunset Gang,” “A Mom For Christmas,” “The Fig Tree,” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “It Happened One Christmas,” “Ruby and Oswald,” “The Story Teller,” “A Letter to Three Wives,” “Jennifer, A Woman’s Story,” “Ordinary Hero,” “One True Love” and “Sons of Mistletoe”. Moving onto the big screen, Doris drew even more accolades for such films as “A Fish in the Bathtub”, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, “My Giant”, “Walking to Waldheim”, “The Grass Harp”, “Used People”, “The Night We Never Met”, “Something Wild”, “Barefoot in the Park”, “No Way to Treat a Lady”, “A Lovely Way to Die”, “Honeymoon Killers”, “A New Leaf”, “Such Good Friends”, “Little Murders”, “Heartbreak Kid”, “Hester Street”, “The Taking of Pelham One-Two-Three”, “The Rose”, “Good Luck Miss Wyckoff”, “Rabbit Test”, “Simple Justice”, “Number One With A Bullet”, “Momma Mia”, and the recently released “All Over the Guy”. While most performers might begin to rest on their laurels, Doris Roberts continues to shine in her craft. With a hefty weekly schedule on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” she manages to also have some fun with her love for games, appearing as a regular with her friend Whoopi Goldberg on “Hollywood Squares” and accepting a very special role written for her on the popular “Touched By an Angel.”
She also manages to devote what free time she has to community service as Founder and active supporter of the charities Children Affected By AIDS and Puppies Behind Bars, which creates a new sense of humanity for prison inmates by providing them with pets and sense of normal responsibility. Some may call this indefatigable worker an actress who has done it all, but Doris insists “There’s always a new challenge around the corner and I’ll be ready when it comes.”
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