Doris Roberts: Using Her 'Big Mouth' to Fight for Good

Starring in a new TV movie, the 'Everybody Loves Raymond' mother speaks out on behalf of older Americans and the homeless.

Doris RobertsDoris Roberts is probably best known as Marie Barone, Ray's hilariously judgmental mother on the long-running sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," which ended its nine-season run last year. While "Raymond" can still be seen in syndication at virtually all times of the day, Roberts, 76, has moved onto new projects. She's starring this weekend in "Our House," a Hallmark Channel movie in which she plays a lonely, depressed widow who's given up on life--until she meets Bobby, a homeless woman, played by Judy Reyes ("Scrubs"), who helps Roberts's character find a new purpose: offering shelter in her home to homeless people.
 
Roberts spoke with Beliefnet about  homelessness, the discrimination faced by older people, moving on after a loss, and her "Our House" and "Raymond" characters.
 
In "Our House" you play a very different type of mother than you played in "Everybody Loves Raymond." What do you think of these two different models?
 
Two Mother Characters
Both of them are different women, but they both need the same thing. Marie Barone, as crazy as she might have been at times, or as hard on her daughter-in-law as she was, it all came from love. She just wanted her sons to be in a household that was cleaner, a household where there was better food, and the grandchildren had the opportunity to have the luxury of a cleaner home and better food. That's what it stemmed from. It's not that she disliked the woman [her daughter-in-law, Deborah, played by Patricia Heaton], she just wanted her to be better for her boys. That's not an evil thing at all. She wasn't clever enough to do it with subtlety, but she did it from love, and that's how I played her. I never played her as being evil or resentful or mean-spirited. Not at all. I loved them, and I wanted it to better for them.
 
Now this woman [in "Our House"] has been pampered by money and has a great home, and it's empty. Absolutely empty. Useless. Empty rooms, when these people who are on the street, she brings them in and gives them a chance, just one step up. They need a second chance in life. They all do.
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