Doris Roberts passed away today.
A veteran performer of the stage and screen, both big and small, Ms. Roberts is known to audiences of a certain age as the loving but meddling, Mrs. Bennet like Marie Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond.
While most women of her generation are willing to sit back and let what is left of their life pass by, Marie Barone lived life to the fullest. She was feisty, loving, sharp-tongued and maybe a little too much of a helicopter parent to her grown sons. But audiences loved her and responded to her every woman character.
Another role that she is remembered for is Mrs. Kavarsky in Hester Street, a film that depicted immigrant life in New York in the early 20th century. Her role of Mrs. Kavarsky was that of a woman who threw off the trapping of the old world and remade herself in the image a modern women in the early 20th century United States.
As bland as they appear to be sometimes, family sitcoms have flourished on television and continue to flourish on television because of their everyday appeal.
Premiering in 1996 and airing its final episode in 2005, Everybody Loves Raymond was set on Long Island. Ray Barone (Ray Romano) lives with his wife Debra (Patricia Heaton) and their three children in a standard suburban split level home. His loving, but sometimes frustrating parents Marie and Frank (Doris Roberts and the late Peter Boyle) live across the street. They have the annoying habit of dropping by unexpectedly. Ray’s brother, Robert (Brad Garrett) is a cop who also frequently swings by his brother’s house without notice.
Yes, this show was another family sitcom. But it had a snap to it. It was funny, it was real and it appealed to audiences and critics because of the ordinary lives of the characters.
I recommend it.