Born Doris May Green, Doris Roberts' resume reads like a veritable history of '70s, '80s and '90s television, with guest spots on Alice, All in the Family, Baretta, Barney Miller, Cagney & Lacey, Empty Nest, Family, Fantasy Island, Full House, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mr. Belvedere, Murder, She Wrote, Perfect Strangers, Rhoda, Soap, The Love Boat, and The Streets of San Francisco. She was also a regular on a number of cult-favorite flops such as the Donna Pescow-header Angie and Erma Bombeck's Maggie. She won her first Emmy Award as a guest star on St. Elsewhere, appearing with frequent co-star James Coco. Coco and Roberts also starred together as the Van Daans in the 1980 TV remake of The Diary of Anne Frank. She gained another Emmy nomination for her work as Mildred Krebs on the 1980s classic Remington Steele.
The role of Marie Barone garnered her seven Emmy nominations, including four wins (three of them consecutive 2001-2003).
Before hitting the air waves, Doris Roberts was an accomplished stage actress, appearing on Broadway in The Time of Your Life, The Desk Set, Marathon '33, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild, Bad Habits and Cheaters. In 2009, she returned to the stage in playwright Terrence McNally's play, Unusual Acts of Devotion at La Jolla Playhouse. She also has appeared in a host of films, including the Grass Harp, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and The Heartbreak Kid.
She is the best-selling author of her memoir, Are You Hungry, Dear?, published in 2003. That same year, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The U. S. State Department appointed Roberts a cultural ambassador, sending her to speak about hope to the youth of underprivileged countries.
The mother of all mothers (and mothers-in-law), Marie is the consummate cook and homemaker. She rules with an iron fist and a velvet glove. She dotes on her son Raymond to an extreme, but tries to make up for her favoritism sometimes, like when she irons her other son Robert's lucky suit. In fact, she is such a conscientious mother, she even goes to the FBI to vouch for Robert when he applies for a job there.
She has an intrusive relationship with her daughter-in-law Debra - especially over matters of cooking and cleaning. She's confident that she's the better cook, but shows a bit of guile when she sabotages Debra's attempts to make meatballs for Ray. Marie does, however, win fair and square in a contest of dust when a vacuum cleaner salesperson appears at Debra's doorstep.
She and her husband Frank have a very loud relationship, and are often fighting. As Debra describes the situation: "Frank and Marie are the type of a couple who would have a fight over who invented the lawn."