'Everybody Loves Raymond' creator pays tribute to Doris Roberts (guest column)

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Ray Romano Remembers Doris Roberts

Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal and Doris Roberts worked together for nine years on the hit CBS comedy. But their friendship went much deeper, as Rosenthal tells it. After all, she essentially played a fictionalized version of his own mother. The writer and executive producer remembered his former colleague, who passed away Sunday at 90. Rosenthal recalls Roberts' audition for the role, how she made the part her own and her many fans, including a certain pop star.

I based the character loosely on my mother so it was a very personal character to me. The very first audition scene that all the actors reading for Marie Barone read with was taken from my actual life. It was a story that really happened to me where I gave my parents a gift of the fruit of the month club and my mother reacted as if this was the greatest burden that could be received by anyone, right? I read about 100 women for this part, everyone of a certain age in Hollywood and in New York read with this scene and Doris Roberts came in and there wasn't even a close second. She was so hilarious and she just hit it out of the park and she got the mother that was in my head because it was my mother in tone and spirit.

See photos of Doris Roberts through the years:

31 PHOTOS
Doris Roberts
See Gallery
'Everybody Loves Raymond' creator pays tribute to Doris Roberts (guest column)
Actress Doris Roberts arrives at the Hollywood Film Awards in Beverly Hills, California November 1, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Actor Jack Betts and actress Doris Roberts (R) arrive at the premiere of the movie "Love & Mercy" at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California June 2, 2015. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
Actress Doris Roberts and an unidentified guest arrive at the premiere of the movie "The Impossible" at Arclight Cinema in Hollywood, California December 10, 2012. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Cast member Doris Roberts arrives for the New York premiere of Tyler Perry's "Madea's Witness Protection" in New York June 25, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Actress Patricia Heaton (R) poses with Doris Roberts, her co-star from "Everybody Love Raymond", during the ceremony honoring Heaton with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California May 22, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Actress Doris Roberts arrives at the 30th anniversary of the People For The American Way Foundation celebration in Beverly Hills, California December 5, 2011. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ANNIVERSARY)
Cast member Doris Roberts arrives for the New York premiere of Tyler Perry's "Madea's Witness Protection" in New York June 25, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
(L-R) The cast of "Everybody Loves Raymond," Monica Horan, Doris Roberts, Sawyer Sweeten, Ray Romano, Brad Garrett and Patricia Heaton accept their awards at the 8th Annual TV Land Awards in Los Angeles, California, April 17, 2010. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Actress Doris Roberts (L) greets actor Charles Durning at a ceremony where Durning receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood July 31, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten (UNITED STATES)
Actor Charles Durning (C) holds a framed replica while posing for photographs with actresses Charlotte Rae (L) and Doris Roberts (R) at a ceremony where he receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood July 31, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten (UNITED STATES)
Actress Doris Roberts (C) gestures during a ceremony where actor Charles Durning receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood July 31, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten (UNITED STATES)
Actress Doris Roberts arrives at the 6th Annual TV Land Awards in Santa Monica, California, June 8, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Pizzello (UNITED STATES)
(L-R) Marion Ross, Richard Chamberlain, Judy Reyes, Doris Roberts and Shirley Jones, all cast members in forthcoming Hallmark Channel original films, participate in a panel discussion at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California, January 12, 2006. REUTERS/Chris Pizzello
Actress Doris Roberts of "Everybody Loves Raymond" holds her Emmy award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series at the 57th annual Prime Time Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September, 18, 2005. REUTERS/Mike Blake MB
Emmy winner Doris Roberts arrives at the HBO after party following the 57th annual Emmy Awards at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood September 18, 2005. Picture taken September 18, 2005. REUTERS/Max Morse SSM/TC
Doris Roberts accepts her award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, with her grandsons, at the 57th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles September 18, 2005. Roberts won for her role in "Everybody Loves Raymond." REUTERS/Robert Galbraith GMH/DH
U.S. actress Doris Roberts arrives for the series wrap party of "Everybody Loves Raymond" in Santa Monica, California April 28, 2005. The final episode of the CBS sitcom, which has run for nine years, will air on May 16. REUTERS/Lee Celano ljc/JK/dh
Cast members of "Everybody Loves Raymond", (back L-R) Monica Horan, Peter Boyle, Brad Garrett, Ray Romano, (middle L-R) Madylin Sweeten, Patricia Heaton, Doris Roberts, (front L-R) Sawyer Sweeten and Sullivan Sweeten, pose for a group photo at the series wrap party in Santa Monica, California April 28, 2005. The final episode of the CBS sitcom, which has been running for nine years, will air on May 16. REUTERS/Lee Celano ljc/JK/CN
Actress Doris Robert (R) signs autographs following an unveiling ceremony honoring her with the 2,214th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame February 10, 2003 in Los Angeles. Roberts has won three Emmy Awards, two of which are for her role as Marie in "Everybody Loves Raymond." REUTERS/Jim Ruymen JR
Actress Doris Roberts (C) signs board following an unveiling ceremony honoring her with the 2,214th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame February 10, 2003 in Los Angeles. Roberts has won three Emmy Awards, two of which are for her role as Marie in "Everybody Loves Raymond." REUTERS/Jim Ruymen JR
Actress Doris Roberts poses with a replica plaque following an unveiling ceremony honoring her with the 2,214th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame February 10, 2003 in Los Angeles. Roberts has won three Emmy Awards, two of which are for her role as Marie in "Everybody Loves Raymond." REUTERS/Jim Ruymen JR/ME
Actress Doris Roberts (C), surrounded by friends and family members savors the moment during an unveiling ceremony honoring her with the 2,214th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame February 10, 2003 in Los Angeles. Roberts has won three Emmy Awards, two of which are for her role as Marie in "Everybody Loves Raymond." REUTERS/Jim Ruymen JR/ME
Doris Roberts (R), won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in "Everybody Loves Raymond" at the 54th annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 22, 2002. Roberts is shown with fellow cast members Patricia Heaton (C) and Peter Boyle at the Governor's Ball following the awards show. REUTERS/Fred Prouser RG
Actress Doris Roberts poses with the Emmy award she won for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in "Everybody Loves Raymond" at the 53rd annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles November 4, 2001. The Emmys, honoring excellence in American television, was postponed twice due to the September 11attacks in New York and Washington. REUTERS/Andy Clark FSP
The cast of "Everybody Loves Ramon," from left front, Patricia Heaton, Doris Roberts and Ray Romano pose backstage at the 2nd Annual TV Guide Awards, as fellow cast member Brad Garrett has fun with his award March 5, at 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles. The popular television series was voted Favorite Comedy Series by over 1.5 million TV fans who participated in voting for their favorite stars and television programs in two January issues of TV Guide magazine.
Actress Doris Roberts arrives September 12 at the 51st Annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Roberts is nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in CBS's "Everybody Loves Raymond." **DIGITAL IMAGE**
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 08: Actress Doris Roberts attends the International Myeloma Foundation 8th Annual Comedy Celebration benefiting The Peter Boyle Research Fund & supporting The Black Swan Research Initiative featuring 'Celebrity Autobiography' at The Wilshire Ebell Theatre on November 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images for International Myeloma Foundation)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 11: (L-R) Sony Music Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Clive Davis, Carousel of Hope Chairman Barbara Davis, and actress Doris Roberts attend the 2014 Carousel of Hope Ball presented by Mercedes-Benz at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
vLOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22: Actresses Jo Anne Worley (L) and Doris Roberts attend the 8th Annual BritWeek Launch Party at a private residence on April 22, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 01: Actress Doris Roberts arrives at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival Opening Night Gala honoring Carl Reiner with tributes at Saban Theatre on May 1, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Then she went onto, over the years, create a character based on our writing for her that was indelible. She was a very strong character, and really funny and kind of a rock in the center of the show, and kind of a rock in the center of our lives on the show because she was very, very nurturing and supportive of everyone around her. She was the ultimate professional actress who took class every week even after the show to prove that you can never stop learning. She did it really because she loved the craft so much, and she cared deeply about the craft. She had a fantastic bullshit detector. She had it in life and she had it on the stage. She won five Emmys for her portrayal of Marie Barone and it's a testament to her and her abilities and her warmth and humor.

Read More: Hollywood Remembers Doris Roberts: Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton React

We hit on something very early on. When we wanted to justify how could she do all these terrible things? How could she sabotage her own daughter-in-law? She was kind of the antagonist of the show. I wouldn't say the villain but she was the one that most of the other characters were going up against in the show and in the family. When we were trying to figure out what was her justification? What was Marie's justification for behaving that way, what we hit on was that everything she did came from love. I told her that and because she's such a smart and great actress, she got it instantly and that gave her the license to kill. She killed every week, and I mean that in the nicest way as a comedian means it. If you watch any clip or any episode, you see somebody scoring left and right. Just on a facial expression, on a well-timed line and on dramatic moments too.

The last time I saw her, my wife and I took her to see Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett at the Hollywood Bowl. We had a lovely time and we went backstage and we met Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, and Lady Gaga gushed all over. She couldn't believe she was meeting Doris. She loved Doris. She watched the show and was a fan and that was something because here's somebody that you wouldn't expect to be an Everybody Loves Raymond fan or a Marie Barone fan.

We were very lucky. We had a notoriously close cast and crew so this is really a death in the family.

Read More: Doris Roberts, Star of 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' Dies at 90


Read Full Story

People are Reading