Wednesday, December 13, 2006


They're not always that good, but I love the TV show reunion specials. It's a chance for one last visit with the characters you came to know and love.

But if you can't have everybody involved from the original production, it will always feel as though the heart has been divvied up. This held true with the 'Gilligan's Island' movies (with no Tina Louise) and the reunion special for 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' (minus Morey Amsterdam and Richard Deacon).

How could you ever have a reunion special for 'Everybody Loves Raymond' without the one man who always nailed the funniest lines.....?

Peter Boyle Dead At 71
NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2006
(CBS/AP) Peter Boyle, the tall, prematurely bald actor who was the tap-dancing monster in "Young Frankenstein" and the curmudgeonly father in the long-running sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," has died. He was 71.

The veteran character actor died Tuesday evening in New York after a long battle with multiple myeloma and heart disease, his publicist, Jennifer Plante, told The ShowBuzz Wednesday.

A Christian Brothers monk who turned to acting, Boyle gained notice playing an angry working man in the Vietnam-era hit "Joe." But he overcame typecasting when he took on the role of the hulking, lab-created monster in Mel Brooks' 1974 send-up of horror films.

The movie's defining moment came when Gene Wilder, as scientist Frederick Frankenstein, introduced his creation to an upscale audience. Boyle, decked out in tails, performed a song-and-dance routine to the Irving Berlin classic "Puttin' On the Ritz."

It showed another side of the Emmy-winning actor, one that would be exploited in countless other films and perhaps best in "Everybody Loves Raymond," in which he played incorrigible paterfamilias Frank Barone for 10 years. He received five Emmy nominations for that role.

"He's just obnoxious in a nice way, just for laughs," he said of the character in a 2001 interview. "It's a very sweet experience having this happen at a time when you basically go back over your life and see every mistake you ever made."

When Boyle tried out for the role opposite series star Ray Romano's Ray Barone, 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 Rosenthal also noted: "I knew right away that he had a comic presence."

Boyle first came to the public's attention more than a quarter century before. "Joe" was a sleeper hit in which he portrayed the title role, an angry, murderous bigot at odds with the era's emerging hippie youth culture.
Although critically acclaimed, he faced being categorized as someone who played tough, angry types. He broke free of that to some degree as Robert Redford's campaign manager in "The Candidate," and shed it entirely in "Young Frankenstein."

The latter film also led to the actor meeting his wife, Loraine Alterman, who visited the set as a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine. Boyle, still in his monster makeup, quickly asked her for a date. [Note from Toobworld: John Lennon would be his best man.]

He went on to appear in dozens of films and to star in "Joe Bash," an acclaimed but short-lived 1986 "dramedy" in which he played a lonely beat cop. He won an Emmy in 1996 for his guest-starring role in an episode of "The X Files," and for the 1977 TV film "Tail Gunner Joe," in which he played Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

In the 1976 film "Taxi Driver," he was the cabbie-philosopher Wizard, who counseled Robert De Niro's violent Travis Bickle.

Other notable films included "T.R. Baskin," "F.I.S.T.," "Johnny Dangerously," "Conspiracy: Trial of the Chicago 8" (as activist David Dellinger), "The Dream Team," "The Santa Claus," "The Santa Claus 2," "While You Were Sleeping" (in a charming turn as Sandra Bullock's future father-in-law) and "Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed."

Educated in Roman Catholic schools in Philadelphia, Boyle would spend three years in a monastery before abandoning his studies there. He later described the experience as similar to "living in the Middle Ages."

He explained his decision to leave in 1991: "I felt the call for a while; then I felt the normal pull of the world and the flesh."

In Toobworld, I'll always remember him for his portrayal of Senator McCarthy as well as for that lost, lonely soul for which he won the Emmy in 'The X-Files'. The part was written for Bob Newhart, but Peter Boyle made it inconceivable that anybody else could have been Clyde Bruckman.

He's a man who made Toobworld richer... and a hell of a fun place.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i'm jonesin' for a christmas cracker!!
Dr. Bob