Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Humanitarian of the Week: Doris Roberts

Doris Roberts
Marie Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond wouldn’t necessarily be considered a humanitarian. She’s outspoken and opinionated, and though truly devoted to her family, her loyalty takes an eccentrically critical form. Marie’s portrayer, Doris Roberts, is a different story.

Born on November 4, 1930, Doris was born in St. Louis, Missouri. When her father deserted the family, her mother moved Doris to The Bronx, New York, and raised her daughter with her Jewish family. By 1952, Doris had established herself as a sought-after actress who appeared on early television programs such as Studio One, Ben Casey, The Naked City, Way Out and The Defenders. Her film debut came in 1961 with the film Something Wild—a performance which led to several more film roles.

Doris Roberts was the original choice to play Vivian in the All in the Family spin-off Maude. The part eventually went to Rue McClanahan. Throughout the 1970’s Doris made a name for herself in comedic parts, often playing the role of the put-upon mother character. She came to greater wide-spread fame when she was cast in Remington Steele as Mildred Krebs and she continued to work steadily into the 1990’s.

Miss Roberts in the 1970s
The role which most defines Roberts work is that of Raymond and Robert Barone’s mother and frequent antagonist, Marie—winning the part over 100 other actresses. Her popularity due to Everbody Loves Raymond led for many more opportunities for Roberts who starred in a series of films during and after the production of the popular sitcom.

Though her contributions to the world of entertainment are many, her philanthropic contributions are what really makes Doris Roberts an exceptional person. She has worked extensively with Puppies Behind Bars. This organization works with prison inmates who learn to train dogs to work as companions for people needing assistance as well as service dogs trained to work with law enforcement officials. She has also served as the Chairperson for The Children with AIDS Foundation. In her 70’s, Roberts appeared before Congress to testify that the entertainment world is marred by age discrimination and suggested that such bias should be handled in much the same manner that gender and race discrimination is combated. Doris’ enormous talent and her equally grand love for humanity make her this week’s “Humanitarian of the Week.”

Remember, during November, you will have a chance to submit your nominations for “Humanitarian of the Year.” I look forward to hearing from you.

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