December 13, 2006


Damn good actor


"Wait! Where are you going? I was going to make Espresso!"

I continue posting with an unfortunate nexus, that being the death of Peter Boyle, one of my favorite actors - the connection being that John Lennon was best man at Peter’s wedding. “We were both seekers after a truth, looking for a quick way to enlightenment,” Peter once said of Lennon.

Peter, 71, died Tuesday evening at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

His most famous film role is arguably that of the monster in Mel Brooks’ 1974 Young Frankenstein, with it’s classic scene of Peter and Gene Wilder decked out in tails, tapping (and bellowing) out their wacky version of Irving Berlin’s Puttin’ On The Ritz.

The story of how he met his wife Loraine Alterman is somewhat famous. As a reporter for Rolling Stone, she was visiting on the set of Young Frankenstein and Boyle, still in monster makeup, asked her for a date.

His last role, that of the churlish and vinegary Frank Barone in the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, a role he played for 10 years, is also widely known.

“He's just obnoxious in a nice way, just for laughs,” Peter once said of Frank, through whom he inserted the signature phrase “Holy Crap!” at the most comically opportune times.

When Peter tried out for the role, however, he was kept waiting for his audition - and he was not happy. “He came in all hot and angry,” recalled the show's creator, Phil Rosenthal, “and I hired him because I was afraid of him. But I knew right away that he had a comic presence.”

Co-star Doris Roberts, who played his wife Marie on Raymond said Peter was not at all like the character he played on television. “He was a brilliant actor, a gentleman, incredibly intelligent, wonderfully well read and a loving friend.”

The son of a local TV personality in Philadelphia, Peter was educated in Roman Catholic schools and spent three years in a monastery before abandoning his religious studies. He later described the experience as similar to living in the Middle Ages. He left to become an actor when he “felt the normal pull of the world and the flesh.”

He traveled to New York to study with famed actress/teacher Uta Hagen, supporting himself for five years with various jobs, including postal worker, waiter, maitre d' and office temp. Finally, he was cast in a road company version of The Odd Couple. When the play reached Chicago he quit to study with that city's famed improvisational troupe Second City. Upon returning to New York, he began to land roles in TV commercials, off-Broadway plays and finally films.

His early roles had him typecast in tough, irascible roles, but he began to escape that image as Robert Redford's campaign manager in The Candidate and left it behind entirely after Young Frankenstein. He won an Emmy in 1996 for his guest-starring role as a morose clairvoyant in an episode of The X Files, in which he uttered the hilarious line, “Sometimes it seems like everyone is having sex but me.” He also received Emmy nominations Everybody Loves Raymond and for the 1977 TV film Tail Gunner Joe, in which he played Sen. Joseph McCarthy. In Martin Scorcese’s 1976 film Taxi Driver he played philosopher cabbie Wizard, who counseled Robert DeNiro’s violent Travis Bickle with the sage advice, “You get a job. You become the job.” He did dozens of other films, including the two classic comedies Johnny Dangerously and Yellowbeard.

In 1990 Peter had a stroke and couldn't talk for six months. In 1999, he had a heart attack on the Raymond set. He soon regained his health, however, and returned to the series.

Despite his work in Everybody Loves Raymond and other Hollywood productions, Peter made New York City his home. He and his wife had two daughters, Lucy and Amy.

Thanks to the Associated Press and Internet Movie Database for contributing nearly all of this post. I love you guys.

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Hi "Tim",

Your photo made me laugh out loud. Then I noticed the name of your blog and laughed again.

Thank you so much for your comment about my penis (haiku). I'm glad you liked it. I was particularly proud of that one

I was not aware that Peter Boyle did all this stuff! Good to know, and sorry he's not here.

I love your entry about the constitution and the Muslim congressman. Good coverage of the topic and you got some great comments on that post. Thank you also for sharing the link to the Cornell Law Library with the entire Constitution online. I've been looking (not too hard though) for something like this. A great source of reference.

And thanks for all your thoughtful writing. This is one of those rare blogs worth reading.
A very nice tribute, Tim.
"Your photo made me laugh out loud."

You should see him in person. You'll crack a rib. :-)

Nice tribute, O'Tim.
kevin - thanks for stopping by, please do so often in your search for a graaaail. And there are more of those rare blogs in the peanut gallery listing in the left column.

You should see him in person. You'll crack a rib. :-)

Ribs heal - mirrors and their seven years misfortune do not, trollface. :::)))
:-) :-) :-)
I came up with an emo for "trollface"


Okay, so he's a Braves fan. Just adding insult to injury.
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