Doris Roberts (Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com)
Doris May Green (1925-2016) was born in St. Louis and raised in the Bronx by her single mother and grandparents, who were of Russian-Jewish heritage. After her mother remarried, Doris took on her new stepfather’s last name: Roberts. She began acting as a child, and after studying journalism for a short time, went to acting school. In 1952, Roberts appeared on a TV show for the first time. She would make appearances on another four television shows before starring in her first film in 1961. Roberts went on to play roles in over 30 movies (four of which will be released later this year), and over 60 television programs, including Full House, Grey’s Anatomy, The King of Queens, Lizzie McGuire, Law & Order, Desperate Housewives, and Walker, Texas Ranger. However, she is undoubtedly most famous for her role as Marie Barone, the mother of Ray Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond – a role which brought her four Emmy Awards. Roberts was chosen among 100 women who tried out for the part, and helped to make the show one of the greatest sitcoms in TV history. Roberts also had a successful Broadway career spanning nearly twenty years. She has won a Screen Actors Guild Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Sadly, Roberts passed away in her sleep earlier this week.
Words of the Week
Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a Spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a Spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive. – Albert Einstein
Rita Levi-Montalcini was born in Italy in 1909, and still goes to work every day at the European Brain Institute. If you didn’t catch that: she is 103 years old. That makes her the only Nobel Prize winner in history to live 100 years. She won the prize together with fellow Jew Stanley Cohen for discovering Nerve Growth Factor, the main protein involved in neurological development. Levi-Montalcini went to medical school in the 1930s, but was barred from being a physician by Mussolini’s race laws that prevented Jews from holding academic professions. So she set up a laboratory in her home and studied the nerves of chickens. This was the basis for many of her future discoveries. Wherever her family fled during the war, Levi-Montalcini set up mobile labs; at one point even running a genetics lab from her bedroom! After the war she continued her research and taught at Washington University for 30 years. She has won the National Medal of Science, and was knighted, too. In 2001, Levi-Montalcini was appointed a senator for life and is the eldest member of Italy’s Upper House. Her advice for living a long and healthy life: “minimal sleep, limited food intake, and always keeping the brain active and interested.”
UPDATE: Sadly, Rita Levi-Montalcini passed away in December of 2012, seven months after this post was originally published.