|Subject: ARCHIVE: December 12, 2006 ~Veteran actor Peter Boyle, known as TV's 'Frank Barone' on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and the comical monster in Mel Brooks' feture film spoof Young Frankenstein (1974), dies at 71. ...
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Date Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 10:42:09am
[ Peter Lawrence Boyle ]
(October 18, 1935 – December 12, 2006)
American actor known as a character actor, he played Frank Barone on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and the comical monster in Mel Brooks' film spoof Young Frankenstein (1974). He also starred in The Candidate. Boyle, who won an Emmy Award in 1996 for a guest-starring role on the science-fiction drama The X-Files, won praise in both comedic and dramatic parts following his breakthrough performance in the 1970 film Joe.
Early life …
Peter Lawrence Boyle was born on October 18, 1935 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, the son of Alice (née Lewis) and Francis Xavier Boyle. He moved with his family to nearby Philadelphia.
Francis was a Philadelphia TV personality from 1951 to 1963. Among many other roles, he played the Western show host Chuck Wagon Pete, as well as hosting the after-school children's program Uncle Pete Presents the Little Rascals, which showed vintage Little Rascals and Three Stooges comedy shorts alongside Popeye cartoons. He also appeared at times on Ernie Kovacs' morning program on W-PTZ.
Boyle's paternal grandparents were Irish immigrants, and his mother was of mostly French and British Isles descent. He was raised Catholic and attended St. Francis de Sales School and West Philadelphia Catholic High School For Boys. After graduating high school in 1953, Boyle spent three years as a seminarian with the De La Salle Brothers, a Catholic teaching order. He lived in a house of studies with other novices and earned a BA from La Salle University in Philadelphia in 1957, but left the order because he did not feel called to religious life.
While in Philadelphia, he worked as a cameraman on the cooking show Television Kitchen, hosted by Florence Hanford. After graduating from Officer Candidate School in 1959, he was commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy, but his military career was shortened by a nervous breakdown. In New York City, Boyle studied with acting coach Uta Hagen while working as a postal clerk and a maitre d'.
Boyle played "Murray the cop" in a touring company of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, leaving the tour in Chicago and joining The Second City ensemble there. He had a brief scene as the manager of an indoor shooting range in the critically acclaimed 1969 film Medium Cool, filmed in Chicago.
Boyle gained acclaim for his first starring role, playing the title character, a bigoted New York City factory worker, in the 1970 movie Joe. The film's release was surrounded by controversy over its violence and language. It was during this time that Boyle became close friends with actress Jane Fonda, and with her he participated in many protests against the Vietnam War. After seeing people cheer at his role in Joe, Boyle refused the lead role in The French Connection (1971), as well as other movie and TV roles that he believed glamorized violence. However, in 1974, he starred in a film based on the life of murdered New York gangster "Crazy" Joey Gallo, called Crazy Joe.
His next major role was as the campaign manager for a U.S. Senate candidate (Robert Redford) in The Candidate (1972). In 1973 he appeared in Steelyard Blues with Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland, a film about a bunch of misfits trying to get a Catalina flying boat in a scrapyard flying again so that they could fly away to somewhere there weren't so many rules. He also played an Irish mobster opposite Robert Mitchum in The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973).
...Boyle had another hit role as Frankenstein's monster in the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy Young Frankenstein, in which, in an homage to King Kong, the monster is placed onstage in top hat and tails, grunt-singing and dancing to the song "Puttin' on the Ritz". Boyle said at the time, "The Frankenstein monster I play is a baby. He's big and ugly and scary, but he's just been born, remember, and it's been traumatic, and to him the whole world is a brand new alien environment. That's how I'm playing it". Boyle met his wife, Loraine Alterman, on the set of Young Frankenstein while she was there as a reporter for Rolling Stone. He was still in his Frankenstein makeup when he asked her for a date. Through Alterman and her friend Yoko Ono, Boyle became friends with John Lennon, who was the best man at Boyle and Alterman's 1977 wedding. Boyle and his wife had two daughters, Lucy and Amy.
Boyle received his first Emmy nomination for his acclaimed dramatic performance in the 1977 television film Tail Gunner Joe, in which he played Senator Joseph McCarthy. Yet he was more often cast as a character actor than as a leading man. His roles include the philosophical cab driver "Wizard" in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976), starring Robert De Niro; a bar owner and fence in The Brink's Job (1978); the private detective hired in Hardcore (1979); the attorney of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson (played by Bill Murray) in Where the Buffalo Roam (1980); a corrupt space mining-facility boss in the science-fiction film Outland (1981), opposite Sean Connery; Boatswain Moon in the (1983) pirate comedy Yellowbeard, also starring Cheech and Chong, Madeline Kahn, and members of the comedy troupe Monty Python; a local crime boss named Jocko Dundee on his way to retirement, starring Michael Keaton in the comedy film Johnny Dangerously (1984); a psychiatric patient who belts out a Ray Charles song in the comedy The Dream Team (1989), also starring Michael Keaton; a boss of unscrupulous corporation in the sci-fi Solar Crisis (1990) along Charlton Heston and Jack Palance; the title character's cab driver in The Shadow (1994), starring Alec Baldwin; the father of Sandra Bullock's fiancée in While You Were Sleeping (1995); the corporate raider out to buy Eddie Murphy's medical partnership in Dr. Dolittle (1998); the hateful father of Billy Bob Thornton's prison-guard character in Monster's Ball (2001); Muta in The Cat Returns (2002); and Old Man Wickles in the comedy Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004). In cameo roles, he can be seen as a police captain in Malcolm X (1992), and as a drawbridge operator in Porky's Revenge (1985). In 1992, he starred in Alex Cox's Death and the Compass, an adaptation of Jorge Luis Borges' La Muerte y la Brujula. However, the film was not released until 1996.
His New York theater work included playing a comedian who is the object of The Roast, a 1980 Broadway play directed by Carl Reiner. Also in 1980 he co-starred with Tommy Lee Jones in an Off Broadway production of playwright Sam Shepard's acclaimed True West. Two years later, Boyle played the head of a dysfunctional family in Joe Pintauro's less well-received Snow Orchid, at the Circle Repertory.
In 1986, Boyle played the title role of the acclaimed but short-lived TV series Joe Bash, created by Danny Arnold. The comedy-drama followed the life of a lonely, world-weary, and sometimes compromised New York City beat cop whose closest friend was a prostitute, played by actress DeLane Matthews.
In October 1990, Boyle suffered a near-fatal stroke that rendered him completely speechless and immobile for nearly six months. After recovering, he went on to win an Emmy Award in 1996 as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his appearance on The X-Files. In the episode, "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", he played an insurance salesman who can see selected things in the near future, particularly others' deaths. Boyle also guest starred in two episodes as Bill Church Sr. in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He appears in Sony Music's unaired Roger Waters' music video "Three Wishes" (1992) as a scruffy genie in a dirty coat and red scarf, who tries to tempt Waters at a desert diner.
...Boyle was perhaps most widely known for his role as the deadpan, cranky Frank Barone in the CBS television sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, which aired from 1996 to 2005. The show was shot in Los Angeles, to which Boyle commuted from his New York City home. He was nominated for an Emmy seven times for this role, but never won (beaten out multiple times in the Supporting Actor category by his co-star Brad Garrett), though fellow co-stars Garrett, Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, and Boyle's TV wife Doris Roberts won at least one Emmy each for their performances.
In 1999, he had a heart attack on the set of Everybody Loves Raymond. He soon regained his health and returned to the series. After the incident, Boyle was drawn back to his Catholic faith and resumed attending Mass.
In 2001, he appeared in the film Monster's Ball as the bigoted father of Billy Bob Thornton's character. Introduced by comedian Carlos Mencia as "the most honest man in show business", Boyle made guest appearances on three episodes of the Comedy Central program Mind of Mencia, one of which was shown as a tribute in a segment made before Boyle's death, in which he read hate mail, explained the "hidden meanings" behind bumper stickers, and occasionally told Mencia how he felt about him.
Starting in late 2005, Boyle and former TV wife Doris Roberts appeared in TV commercials for the 75th anniversary of Alka-Seltzer, reprising the famous line, "I can't believe I ate that whole thing!" Although this quote has entered into popular culture, it is often misquoted as, "...the whole thing." Boyle had a role in all three of The Santa Clause films. In the original, he plays Scott Calvin's boss. In the sequels, he plays Father Time.
On December 12, 2006, Boyle died at the age of 71 at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City after suffering from multiple myeloma and heart disease. At the time of his death, he had completed his role in the film All Roads Lead Home and was scheduled to appear in The Golden Boys. The end credits of All Roads Lead Home include a dedication to his memory.
Boyle's death had a tremendous effect on his former co-stars from Everybody Loves Raymond, which had ceased production less than two years before his death. When asked to comment on Boyle's death, his cast members heaped praise on Boyle. Ray Romano was personally affected by the loss, saying, "He gave me great advice, he always made me laugh, and the way he connected with everyone around him amazed me." Patricia Heaton stated, "Peter was an incredible man who made all of us who had the privilege of working with him aspire to be better actors."
On October 18, 2007 (which would have been Boyle's 72nd birthday), his friend Bruce Springsteen dedicated "Meeting Across the River" to Boyle during a Madison Square Garden concert with the E Street Band in New York. Springsteen segued into "Jungleland" in memory of Boyle, stating: "An old friend died a while back – we met him when we first came to New York City... Today would have been his birthday."
After Boyle died, his widow Loraine Alterman Boyle established the Peter Boyle Memorial Fund in support of the International Myeloma Foundation. Boyle's closest friends, family and co-stars have since gathered yearly for a comedy celebration fundraiser in Los Angeles. Acting as a tribute to Boyle, the annual event is hosted by Ray Romano and has included performances by many comedic veterans including Dana Carvey, Fred Willard, Martin Mull, Richard Lewis, Kevin James, Jeff Garlin and Martin Short. Performances typically revolve around Boyle's life, recalling favorite moments with the actor. The comedy celebration has been noted as the most successful fundraiser in IMF history, as the first event held in 2007 raised over $550,000, while the following year over $600,000 was raised for the Peter Boyle Memorial Fund in support of the IMF's research programs.
He was interred at Green River Cemetery in Springs, New York. …
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