Stephen M. Silverman And Carly Bashkin
September 05, 2002 11:00 AM

Emmy-winning actress Doris Roberts, the strong-willed mom on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” took to putting U.S. Senators in their place Wednesday, reports PEOPLE.

Addressing a Senate hearing on ageism in the media, the actress, 76, said: “I’m in my seventies, at the peak of my career, at the height of my earned income and tax contributions. When my grandchildren say I rock, they’re not talking about a rocking chair.”

Yet while her own career is going strong, Roberts said on Capitol Hill, she also explained that the entertainment business is one of the worst perpetrators of age bias, with roles scarce for women over 40 — and that older men are seldom paired with women of the same age.

As an example, Roberts cited the 1999 movie “Entrapment,” in which Sean Connery, now 72, was married to Catherine Zeta-Jones, 32.

She has also turned down roles, she told the committee, rather than play “a horny grandmother who spewed foul language, exposed herself and chased after young boys,” she said.

“This is why some of my spectacularly talented actress friends in their 40s and 50s have been forced into the humiliating position of borrowing money from me … or begging me to see if there is even a tiny part for them on ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,'” Roberts told the senators, looking them in the face as she added: “If you were in my business you’d be out of a job.”

Speaking to PEOPLE after her session on the Hill, Roberts said, “There is no photograph in any magazine that I can think of, other than the AARP, that shows a woman over the age of 45, unless she’s suffering from cancer or (selling) Viagra. They like to airbrush us out of existence. I hold Madison Avenue at fault for dismissing us.”

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