You’ve met GreatCall’s brand ambassador Holly Robinson Peete, and now we’d like to introduce you to her mother, Dolores Robinson! A former Hollywood agent, manager, producer and actress, Dolores is living her life to the fullest in her home in Palm Springs, CA. We recently spoke with Dolores on how she stays healthy, active, and independent – and got the scoop on how she’s continuously reinventing her life and career. Dolores is also an avid proponent and owner of the Lively Mobile Plus, which supports her always-on-the-move life.
GreatCall: Dolores, you have such a storied history – from finding acting talent, launching careers and producing in Hollywood, to being an activist, mother and grandmother. How does it all fit together?
Dolores: I started my career as a teacher in, helping to integrate the school system in Levittown, Pennsylvania. During this time, I also started a program to provide education and health services to young women who became pregnant in school, a program that still exists today.
I stopped teaching when I became a mother myself, but later joined KYW-TV Philadelphia as the public relations director. Because of my background as a teacher, I was asked to host one of the local station’s children’s TV shows. After some time doing this, I packed up my children and our bags and drove to California. That’s when I became a talent agent – I met LeVar Burton through a mutual friend, he hired me as his manager, and the rest, they say, is history. Some of my well-known clients included Wesley Snipes, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Pierce Brosnan, and Mariska Hargitay, among others. I’m the first Black female manager in the history of show business and was inducted into the Personal Managers Hall of Fame in 2017.
In 2008, between the financial crisis and some other challenges, I found myself needing to make another change with my life and career – but, I’ve always made the best of any situation and moved on. So I left LA. Now here I am in Palm Springs!
GreatCall: What motivated you to start another chapter in a new location?
Dolores: While I do miss my family, I understand that they have their own lives; my grandkids are teenagers and young adults, living their lives and doing their own thing. I never learned how to mind my own business when I was living in LA in their guest house. On the outside, I am the most social person in the world, but whenever I walk inside my home, I remember that there’s also a part of me that loves to be by myself. I moved away so I could live my life, and they could live theirs. It’s a nice lesson for older people – our own lives are the only ones we can control.
A little over a month ago, my son Matt and his wife Cindy visited me, and just last week they also moved to Palm Springs, about five minutes away. That was a nice surprise. Matt has given me an open invitation to their pool, and I do love to swim. But having them close, I’m tempted to always run over there. So once again, I try to mind my own business, and allow them to enjoy their new home without me there all the time. My daughter Holly and her family are also coming to see us soon!
GreatCall: What shapes your days now? Are there any special projects, organizations or activities you’re focused on? What do you do for fun?
Dolores: I used to have a large garden in Beverly Hills which I would spend hours trying to keep alive. Now in Palm Springs, I keep a few plants in pots on the patio, and I’m still working on keeping them alive. It’s hot out here! I still like to spend my time staying active. I use a Fitbit and set a goal of 5,000 steps per day. With Coronavirus happening, I’m cautious about going to the gym, so I do things like walk the mile perimeter of my condo. Even when I go to the grocery store, I’m almost in a hazmat suit, but I’ve started to get a little braver.
I’ve recently become a podcast person and have been a guest on a few different ones. Besides that, I’m writing a book, which includes thank you notes to everyone in my life. I’m writing letters for former classmates, politicians, family, friends, colleagues – practically everybody who’s has a part in my development as a human being.
I am also the spokesperson for Pegasus Therapeutic Riding, a foundation that provides therapeutic horseback riding for young people with special needs. This is especially important to me as I saw firsthand how this activity helped my grandson, who has autism.GreatCall: What role does technology play in keeping you connected and independent?
Dolores: I am very connected through technology for someone my age. I have almost 5,000 Facebook friends, and over 21,000 Instagram followers. Technology allows me to stay connected with the people I love while being safely distanced during this time. I’m doing things I never would have been able to do without technology, like staying in touch with high school and college friends. And in addition to things like jigsaw puzzles, keeping up with technology helps test my brain and keep my mind active. Sometimes I’m nervous that I’ll do something like accidentally deleting everything – but I haven’t yet. It’s not something I grew up with, so while it can still be a challenge to use, it’s a necessity today if you want to stay connected.
GreatCall’s Lively Mobile Plus device helps give me peace of mind, especially since I live alone. Even though I’m in good shape, I know it’s especially valuable when I need to use a ladder or when I go out for walks, or even if I have to find my car in a big parking lot. Whenever I’m feeling extra tired, or even simply taking a trip to the grocery store, it serves as a security blanket for me. The best part – mine’s bedazzled! It makes for a great conversation starter in the supermarket line.
GreatCall: You’ve said previously that you won’t be defined by labels, that you’ve dealt with sexism, racism, and now at this stage in your life, you face ageism. Can you tell us more about that?
Dolores: If I’m being honest, I’m that girl who’s fishing for compliments when she tells someone she’s 84, because I’m always told I don’t look my age. I work hard to stay in shape, mostly because I value being healthy and want to live for as long as I can. For one reason or another, I’ve always had limits put on me, but I won’t let limits control me. I’ve already decided I want to live to be 104 and have the number tattooed on my wrist. It reminds me of my goals and my desire to stay happy and healthy every day.
We’ll also be speaking with Matthew Robinson, Dolores’ son and Holly’s brother. Check back soon to learn more about him!