Doris Roberts is 71, a highly-paid actress on a top-rated sitcom, and the winner of an Emmy last year for her role on Everybody Loves Raymond. She’s up again for the same award this year.
She also has the gall to complain to the US Sentate about “ageism” in Hollywood.
As actors age they encounter a shrinking pool of jobs, she said, and often accept roles that are “insulting and degrading” to seniors. The result “robs us of our dignity and denies us the chance to continue to grow,” she said.
“My peers and I are portrayed as dependent, helpless, unproductive and demanding, rather than deserving,” she said.
Guess what, Doris? The acting business sucks. For everybody. Young men with muscles get pingeonholed into playing young men with muscles. Women with grotesque fake boobs who like to have sex on camera seem to be stuck in the porn industry. Middleaged women who look like frumpy housewives tend to get all the middleaged housewife roles.
But that’s just the actors who actually, you know, get paid to act. The rest are waiting tables, putting up other people’s houses, or desperately trying to latch onto their more-successful peers.
Fewer rolls for the elderly? Well, that’s because it’s easier for the audience to suspend disbelief when Tom Cruise pull himself up off the edge of a cliff, than it is when Hume Cronyn tries it. And as Americans with primitives tastes, we usually prefer movies where something happens. If I want to watch people do nothing but gripe softly for two hours, I’ll go rent a French movie.
Cocoon was a big hit, but how many extra days of shooting did it take, just to make sure Don Ameche (in his last wonderful role) didn’t keel over from overwork? And even so, he had to share billing with Steve Guttenberg. Cocoon worked because it gave us the image of old people young again — but that doesn’t change the fact that what we mostly want to pay to see is, young people doing exciting things.
Doris, you have a fine job on a popular show. That puts you leagues ahead of almost all of your younger, better-looking competitors. Deal with it, darlin’.