‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: Doris Roberts Said the Exec Producer’s Treatment of the Cast Was ‘Horrible’: ‘You Can’t Do That To Actors’
In a 2005 interview, Everybody Loves Raymond star Doris Roberts opened up about working on the show in all its facets.
While she expressed great pride and admiration in her work, she was honest about her working relationship with the comedy’s creator and executive producer Phil Rosenthal.
Her respect for him was indisputable; however, she was frank in expressing her dismay with his particular way of dealing with the cast.
Doris Roberts’ favorite episodes of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’
In a 2005 interview with the Archive of American Television, Doris Roberts, who died in 2016, shared her favorite episodes of the now-classic sitcom in which she starred for nine seasons as the Barone family matriarch, Marie Barone.
The first episode she called a favorite was one in which Marie finds her son Raymond’s diary from his adolescence.
“I loved “Ray’s Diary,” Roberts said. “I thought that had many levels of tenderness and pathos and sensitivity and humor. I loved that one very much, very much.”
Another episode that was dear to the veteran actor was “Frank’s Tribute,” “the one with Peter [Boyle], cleaning cold cream off my face,” Roberts said.
In “Frank’s Tribute,” Ray and Robert create a video honoring their father, Frank, for his lodge and do a subpar job. Frank is furious.
By the episode’s conclusion, Marie wants to know why her husband is so upset. Frank has little to say and Marie stops trying to understand him for the night, putting cold cream on her face before going to bed. The episode shows a tender side to the normally abrasive Frank as he lovingly wipes the cold cream off of his wife’s face.
Why Roberts at times found Phil Rosenthal’s behavior ‘horrible’
During her interview with the Archive of American Television, Roberts was asked whether the show’s creator and executive producer, Phil Rosenthal, was very “hands-on.”
“He’s very hands-on, very hands-on. If it was written, ‘Raymond, are you hungry?’ and I said, ‘Are you hungry, Raymond?,’ [Rosenthal] would scream ‘Stop!’ in front of an audience, in front of everyone.
“Which I, as well as all my fellow actors, found horrible.”
Roberts on getting yelled at in front of an audience
Roberts made clear in her remarks that Rosenthal was extremely gifted as a writer and showrunner.
“He’s brilliant at what he does, brilliant,” she said. “He’s a great showrunner, knows exactly what is needed and how to get it. Towards the end, he got better, but you can’t do that to actors.”
Roberts elaborated on her point, saying Rosenthal’s jarring commands can close up an actor.
“You need to be free, that you’re doing it well, that you can change it if you want to change it. But don’t yell, ‘Stop!’ Everybody in the audience is just shocked by that,” she said.
“So that went on for several years and then it stopped and I stopped it, finally. It’s just his technique about talking to actors that needs to be changed.”