Born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in The Bronx, New York, Roberts made her professional acting debut in 1952 on the TV show Studio One. She went on to star in several movies throughout the 1960s and '70s, and was originally supposed to play Vivian in Maude, a role that went to Rue McClanahan.
Roberts became popular with modern audiences as Marie Barone, the mother of Ray Barone (Ray Romano) and Robert Barone (Brad Garrett), on Everybody Loves Raymond, in which she starred from 1996 to 2005. She won four of her five Emmy statues for that role, and was nominated for Emmys a total of 11 times. (Her other win came in 1983 for St. Elsewhere.)
Raymond wasn't the actress' only mother role though. Roberts also graced Garry Marshall's Angie in 1979 and Remington Steele in 1983 in similar roles.
In addition to her famed role on Raymond, Roberts' other notable television credits include a starring role as Mildred Crebs on Remington Steele from 1983 to 1987, and on Garry Marshall's Angie in 1979 and 1980. She also made guest appearances on shows including The Middle, Melissa & Joey and Barney Miller, as well as in feature films including Grandma's Boy and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
Roberts is survived by her son, Michael Cannata Jr.