Peter Boyle
Peter Lawrence Boyle
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Birth date
October 18, 1935
(died December 12, 2006)

Peter Lawrence Boyle (October 18, 1935 – December 12, 2006) was an Emmy Award-winning American actor. He was perhaps best known for his role as Frank Barone on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and his film roles in Young Frankenstein (1974) and Taxi Driver (1976). He won praise for playing both comedic and dramatic roles following his breakthrough performance in the 1970 movie Joe.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Early life and career[edit | edit source]

Born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Boyle later moved to nearby Philadelphia. Of Irish descent, he was the son of Peter Boyle, Sr., a Philadelphia TV personality from 1951-1963 who, among many other things, played the Western-show host "Chuck Wagon Pete", and hosted the popular afterschool children's program Uncle Pete Presents the Little Rascals, which showed vintage Little Rascals and Three Stooges comedy shorts and Popeye cartoons. Byole attended West Philadelphia Catholic High School. He graduated from La Salle University in Philadelphia in 1957. 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. Boyle was also a member of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or De La Salle Brothers, a Catholic teaching order, and taught drama at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh before turning to acting. In New York City, he studied acting with famed acting coach Uta Hagen while working as a postal clerk and a maitre d'. He went on to play Murray the cop in a touring company of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, leaving the tour in Chicago and joining The Second City improv comedy ensemble there. He had a brief scene as the manager of an indoor shooting range in the critically acclaimed 1969 film Medium Cool.

Screen roles[edit | edit source]

His first starring role was as the title character in the 1970 movie Joe, in which Boyle played a bigoted New York City factory worker to wide acclaim. The film's release was surrounded by controversy over its violence and language. It was during this time that Boyle became close friends with the 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. His next major role was as the campaign manager for a U.S. Senate candidate (Robert Redford) in The Candidate (1972).

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 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, who led the Communist witch hunts in the 1950s. 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; 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's Flying Circus; a mental patient who belts out a Ray Charles song in the comedy The Dream Team (1989), starring Michael Keaton; the title character's cab driver in The Shadow (1994), starring Alec Baldwin; the father of Sandra Bullock's fiancee in While You Were Sleeping (1995); the hateful father of Billy Bob Thornton's prison-guard character in Monster's Ball (2001); and Old Man Wickles in the comedy Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004). In cameo roles, he can be seen as a tough police officer in Malcolm X (1992), and as a drawbridge operator in Porky's Revenge (1985).

In 1986, Boyle played the title role of the acclaimed but short-lived TV series Joe Bash, created by Danny Arnold (Barney Miller). A comedy-drama about a lonely, world-weary and sometimes compromised New York City beat cop whose closest friend was a prostitute, it co-starred the actress DeLane Matthews.

Later life and career[edit | edit source]

In 1990, Boyle suffered a stroke that rendered him speechless for 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 was perhaps most widely known for his role as the deadpan, cranky Frank Barone in the popular 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.

Death[edit | edit source]

On Tuesday, December 12, 2006, Boyle died in New York City at New York Presbyterian Hospital after suffering from multiple myeloma (a form of bone marrow cancer) and heart disease. He is survived by his wife, Loraine, as well as his two daughters, Lucy and Amy.

At the time of his death, Boyle had completed the film Shadows of Atticus, and was scheduled to appear in the film Chatham.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Boyle met 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.[3] 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 have two daughters, Lucy and Amy.
  • In 1976, when he hosted Saturday Night Live, Boyle had the opportunity to demonstrate his singing voice on screen.
  • Boyle's vocal talent was also demonstrated during a karaoke scene in Everybody Loves Raymond.
  • Boyle had a role in all three of The Santa Clause films. In The Santa Clause, he plays Scott Calvin's boss. **In The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, he plays Father Time.
  • He also appeared in Roger Waters' unreleased "Three Wishes" music video in 1993.
  • Introduced by Carlos Mencia as the most honest man in show business, Boyle made guest appearances on two episodes of the Comedy Central program Mind of Mencia, in which he read hate mail, explained the "hidden meanings" behind bumper stickers, and, on occasion, told star Carlos Mencia how he felt about him.
  • Starting in late 2005, Boyle and former TV wife Doris Roberts appeared in several TV ads for the 75th anniversary of Alka-Seltzer, reprising the famous line, "I can't believe I ate that whole thing!

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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