Doris Roberts is happy to get back to fighting crime, at least on television.
An assistant to Pierce Brosnan‘s “Remington Steele” as Mildred before playing mom to Ray Romano on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” the five-time Emmy winner teams with several other familiar TV faces — Tim Conway (“The Carol Burnett Show”), Marion Ross (“Happy Days”), Ron Glass (“Barney Miller”) and Paul Dooley (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) — in Monday’s (Aug. 5) new episode of TNT’s “Major Crimes.”
The veteran actors collectively play former cast and crew members of a fictional 1970s show called “Prognosis: Homicide,” and they now live in an apartment complex where another resident has died suspiciously. Capt. Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) and her team seek the group’s assistance in determining what happened.
Roberts’ character was the hairstylist on the show-within-the-show (“an outspoken one … what else would you expect from me?”), and the actress tells Zap2it the “Major Crimes” guest gathering is “incredible, just a history of television. And I love that they’re seniors. Not old, just older people. It’s inspirational in that we’re all alive and healthy enough to do this. The brains are working, and it’s terrific.
‘Nobody’s writing for older people,” adds Roberts, “and you’ll note that I use the word ‘older’ all the time, because I want the word ‘old’ stricken from the vocabulary. I am an older woman, not an old woman.”
That’s not just lip service: Roberts played a martial-arts-skilled grandma in the 2009 movie “Aliens in the Attic,” and she reports, “I just finished a new version of ‘The Little Rascals,’ and they’ve found little kids who are just like the originals. I’m still here, and I’m still kicking!”
Such spirit helped Roberts during her “Major Crimes” stint, since she says with a laugh, “Tim is insane. You’d come into the makeup room and say, ‘Good morning, Tim. How are you?’ And he’d say, ‘Dying.’ It was so joyful, though. We all were able to memorize our lines, and we all were just having a great time.
“I remember that when I used to win Emmys, I’d pick up the award in front of everyone and yell, ‘This is what happens when you’re young and sexy!’ I was always up against the youngest and sexiest women in the business, so it was just great fun to do that.'”
Also to guest soon on ABC Family’s “Melissa & Joey,” Roberts remains grateful to remain on view regularly as meddling mother Marie on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” thanks to the show’s bountiful repeats on TBS and TV Land and in local syndication.
“It is now in 156 countries,” she says of the sitcom, “and I’ll tell you what I love most of all: When people greet me, they say, ‘I love you, and thank you for all the humor you’ve brought into my life.’ Isn’t that great? And I got paid for it, too.”
“Major Crimes” airs at 9 p.m. ET Monday on TNT.