In a Doris Roberts interview, Roberts said she has been fortunate enough to have a career that has spanned many decades. She has received five emmy awards during her acting career that began back in 1952. Roberts is probably best known for her role as Marie Barone, Raymond’s mother, on Everybody Loves Raymond. Since then, Roberts has been making television and movie appearances steadily and announced she would be appearing on the season finale of Melissa & Joey.
Roberts sat down to discuss her long career, why she keeps working, and what it was like playing Joey Lawrence’s grandmother.
Q: You have had such a long and successful career. What got you interested in acting?
Roberts: I was in kindergarden. I had one line in a play and it was, ‘I am Patrick Potatoe, this is my cousin Ms. Tomato.’ I heard the laughter in the room and that was the bug that bit me and it’s still biting me.
Q: And you remember that moment?
Roberts: I sure do.
Q: Of course I have to ask…you have done so many projects; television, movies. It’s just incredible. What draws you into projects?
Roberts: Well, I just finished The Little Rascals, a movie of them. Do you know who they are?
Roberts: [laughs]. Okay good. [Steven] Speilberg was crazy about it and it may become a feature in the movie house. That I loved and the kids were just fabulous. I think a lot of people want to see it again. If the role is not offensive and I like it and respond to it, I am drawn to it. My immediate reaction to it tells me if I am going to do it or not.
Q: Well, we must discuss Everybody Loves Raymond because the fans will kill me if I don’t. How was your experience working on the show?
Roberts: It was great. We all liked each other, but more importantly we all respected each other. There were no fights, no acting out. There was none of that nonsense. We just came in as grownups, glad to be working. We were talented people that were glad to be working. I believe it’s now showing in 157 or 159 countries in the world. It’s just amazing. I didn’t know we didn’t have that many countries.
Q: How does it feel to be removed from it and reflecting back on your experience?
Roberts: I am amazed daily. The wonderful thing is when people stop me they say, ‘I love you and thank you for the humor you bring into my life.’ One man said to me yesterday that his father is dying and that he loves to watch me on television. He said his father can’t wait until the night time so he could laugh. I think that is just incredible. I do this for a living and it’s just amazing.
Q: So talk to me about your new role on Melissa & Joey?
Roberts: My characters name is Sophia and I am the grandmother of that family and they call me Nona, which is italian for grandmother. I am dying and I call Joey and ask him to come and visit me and bring his lovely wife. But what has happened is that Joey has neglected to tell his grandmother that he is divorced from that lovely wife, who is a very trampy, sexy woman. So, he doesn’t know what to do and doesn’t want to upset his grandmother so he tells Melissa and asks her to act out being that woman, his ex-wife. It’s kind of crazy and wonderful.
Q: When people found out you were going to be on this season, they were extremely excited.
Roberts: [laughs]. Well, I am on two episodes. It’s a two-part summer finale for Melissa & Joey. I was just excited to be apart of it.
Q: What was it like working with Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence?
Roberts: It was great working with them. I had an experience that was quite sensational. I had it before in the theater where I got a standing ovation, but never in television — but I got a standing ovation on that show, which just touched my heart very deeply. It’s that great.
Q: Do you not realize how much of a legend you have become though? To me a standing ovation should be a daily occurance and not abnormal.
Roberts: Well, how wonderful — thank you for that. I just think its wonderful. What to me is very special is when the people greet meet and tell me they love me and love my work. I just love to act. I am happiest when I am acting. It’s exciting, it keeps me going.
You can catch Doris Roberts on Melissa & Joey on ABCFamily and in the upcoming release of The Little Rascals Save The Day.
Photo Courtesy of ABC Family.
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