Peter Boyle

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Peter Boyle
Peter Boyle (cropped).jpg
Boyle in 1978
Peter Lawrence Boyle Jr.

(1935-10-18)October 18, 1935
DiedDecember 12, 2006(2006-12-12) (aged 71)
Years active19652006
Loraine Alterman
(m. 1977)

Peter Lawrence Boyle Jr. (October 18, 1935 – December 12, 2006) was an 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 , and as Wizard in Taxi Driver (1976). [1]


Early life

Peter Lawrence Boyle was born on October 18, 1935, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, the son of Alice (née Lewis) and Francis Xavier Boyle. [2] He moved with his family to nearby Philadelphia. [3]

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 WPTZ. [4]

Boyle's paternal grandparents were Irish immigrants, and his mother was of mostly French and British Isles descent. [5] [6] 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 in formation with the De La Salle Brothers, a Roman Catholic teaching order. He lived in a house of studies with other novices and earned a bachelor of arts from La Salle University in Philadelphia in 1957, but left the order because he did not feel called to religious life. [7]

While in Philadelphia, he worked as a cameraman on the cooking show Television Kitchen, hosted by Florence Hanford. [8]

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. [9]

In New York City, Boyle studied with acting coach Uta Hagen at HB Studio [10] while working as a postal clerk and a maitre d' . [11]

Boyle played Murray the cop in a touring company of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple , [1] leaving the tour in Chicago and joining The Second City ensemble there. [11] He had a brief scene as the manager of an indoor shooting range in the critically acclaimed 1969 film Medium Cool , filmed in Chicago.[ citation needed ]


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. During this time, 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), [1] 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 they could fly away to somewhere with not 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". [11] Boyle met his wife, Loraine Alterman, on the set of Young Frankenstein while she was there as a reporter for Rolling Stone . [12] He was still in his Frankenstein makeup when he asked her for a date. [13] 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. [14] 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 an unscrupulous corporation in the sci-fi movie Solar Crisis (1990) with 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. [15]

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. [16] [17]

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 [12] 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. [18]

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." [19] 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. [20] [21] 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 . [22] 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." [23]

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." [24]

After Boyle died, his widow Loraine Alterman Boyle established the Peter Boyle Memorial Fund in support of the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF). [25] 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 were raised for the Peter Boyle Memorial Fund in support of the IMF's research programs. [26]

He was interred at Green River Cemetery in Springs, New York.

Awards and nominations

Nomination (1977) Lead Actor in a Drama or Comedy Special: Tail Gunner Joe
Nomination (1989) Guest Actor in a Drama Series: J.J. Killian in Midnight Caller episode "Fathers and Sins"
Win (1996) Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Clyde Bruckman in The X-Files episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"
(7) Nominations (1999–2005) Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Everybody Loves Raymond
The cast of Everybody Loves Raymond was nominated for Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series each year from 1999–2000 and 2002–2006. Boyle was additionally nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series in 2002. [27]



1966 The Group UnknownUncredited
1969 Medium Cool Gun Clinic Manager
1969The Virgin PresidentGeneral Heath
1969 The Monitors Production Manager
1970 Joe Joe CurranNominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
1970 Diary of a Mad Housewife ManUncredited
1971 T.R. Baskin Jack Mitchell
1972 The Candidate Marvin Lucas
1972 F.T.A. Unknown
1973 Steelyard Blues Eagle Thornberry
1973 Slither Barry Fenaka
1973 Kid Blue Preacher Bob
1973 The Friends of Eddie Coyle Dillon
1973 The Man Who Could Talk to Kids Charlie DatweilerTelevision movie
1973 Ghost in the Noonday Sun Ras Mohammed
1974 Crazy Joe Joe
1974 Young Frankenstein The Monster
1976 Taxi Driver Wizard
1976 Swashbuckler Lord Durant
1977 Tail Gunner Joe Senator Joseph McCarthyTelevision movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1978 F.I.S.T. Max Graham
1978 The Brink's Job Joe McGinnis
1979 Hardcore Andy Mast
1979 Beyond the Poseidon Adventure Frank Mazzetti
1980 Where the Buffalo Roam Lazlo
1980 In God We Tru$t Dr. Sebastian Melmoth
1981 Outland Mark Sheppard
1982 Hammett Jimmy Ryan
1983 Yellowbeard Moon
1984 Johnny Dangerously Jocko Dundee
1985 Turk 182 Det. Ryan
1987 Surrender Jay
1987 Walker Cornelius Vanderbilt
1988 The In Crowd Uncle Pete Boyle
1988 Red Heat Cmdr. Lou Donnelly
1989 The Dream Team Jack McDermott
1989 Speed Zone Spiro T. Edsel
1989 Funny Unknown
1989 Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North John Poindexter Television movie
1990 Challenger Roger BoisjolyTelevision movie
1990 Solar Crisis Arnold Teague
1990 Men of Respect Matt Duffy
1990 The Tragedy of Flight 103: The Inside Story Fred FordTelevision movie
1991 Kickboxer 2: The Road Back Justin Maciah
1992Nervous TicksRon Rudman
1992 Death and the Compass Detective Erik Lönnrot
1992 Honeymoon in Vegas Chief Orman
1992 Malcolm X Captain Green
1993 Taking the Heat JudgeTelevision movie
1994 The Shadow Moe Shrevnitz
1994 The Santa Clause Mr. WhittleScott Calvin's Boss
1995The SurgeonLt. McEllwaine
1995 Born to Be Wild Gus Charnley
1995 While You Were Sleeping Ox
1996Final VendettaJay Glass
1996 Milk & Money Belted Galloway
1997 That Darn Cat Pa
1998 Species II Dr. Herman Cromwell
1998 Dr. Dolittle Mr. Calloway
2001 Monster's Ball Buck Grotowski
2002 The Cat Returns Mutavoice only in English version
2002 The Adventures of Pluto Nash Rowland
2002 The Santa Clause 2 Father TimeUncredited
2002 Bat's Fools is Bad Dog's Dr. Scream Devil
2004 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed Old Man Jeremiah Wickles
2006 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Father Time
2008 All Roads Lead Home PooveyReleased posthumously


1979 From Here To Eternity 'Fatso' Judson
1986 Joe Bash Joe Bash6 episodes
1988 Cagney & Lacey Phillip GreenlowEpisode: "A Class Act"
19891991 Midnight Caller J.J. Killian3 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1990 Poochinski Stanley PoochinskiTV pilot
19921993 Flying Blind Alicia's Dad2 episodes
1993 TriBeCa HarryEpisode: "The Hopeless Romantic"
19941995 NYPD Blue Dan Breen5 episodes
19941996 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Bill Church, Sr.2 episodes
1995 The X-Files Clyde BruckmanEpisode: "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1996 The Single Guy Walter Eliot2 episodes
19962005 Everybody Loves Raymond Frank Barone207 episodes
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Nominated—American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male in a Television Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1999-2005)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (2002, 2004)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1999-2000, 2002, 2004–06)
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series
1997 Cosby Frank BaroneEpisode: "Lucas Raymondicus"
1998 The King of Queens Frank BaroneEpisode: "Road Rayage"
2005 Tripping the Rift MarvinEpisode: "Roswell"

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