Peter Boyle

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.[1]

Peter Boyle
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)

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 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 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.


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 movieSolar 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]



1966The GroupUnknownUncredited
1969Medium CoolGun Clinic Manager
1969The Virgin PresidentGeneral Heath
1969The MonitorsProduction Manager
1970JoeJoe CurranNominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
1970Diary of a Mad HousewifeManUncredited
1971T.R. BaskinJack Mitchell
1972The CandidateMarvin Lucas
1973Steelyard BluesEagle Thornberry
1973SlitherBarry Fenaka
1973Kid BluePreacher Bob
1973The Friends of Eddie CoyleDillon
1973The Man Who Could Talk to KidsCharlie DatweilerTelevision movie
1973Ghost in the Noonday SunRas Mohammed
1974Crazy JoeJoe
1974Young FrankensteinThe Monster
1976Taxi DriverWizard
1976SwashbucklerLord Durant
1977Tail Gunner JoeSenator Joseph McCarthyTelevision movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1978F.I.S.T.Max Graham
1978The Brink's JobJoe McGinnis
1979HardcoreAndy Mast
1979Beyond the Poseidon AdventureFrank Mazzetti
1980Where the Buffalo RoamLazlo
1980In God We Tru$tDr. Sebastian Melmoth
1981OutlandMark Sheppard
1982HammettJimmy Ryan
1984Johnny DangerouslyJocko Dundee
1985Turk 182Det. Ryan
1987WalkerCornelius Vanderbilt
1988The In CrowdUncle Pete Boyle
1988Red HeatCmdr. Lou Donnelly
1989The Dream TeamJack McDermott
1989Speed ZoneSpiro T. Edsel
1989Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver NorthJohn PoindexterTelevision movie
1990ChallengerRoger BoisjolyTelevision movie
1990Solar CrisisArnold Teague
1990Men of RespectMatt Duffy
1990The Tragedy of Flight 103: The Inside StoryFred FordTelevision movie
1991Kickboxer 2: The Road BackJustin Maciah
1992Nervous TicksRon Rudman
1992Death and the CompassDetective Erik Lönnrot
1992Honeymoon in VegasChief Orman
1992Malcolm XCaptain Green
1993Taking the HeatJudgeTelevision movie
1994The ShadowMoe Shrevnitz
1994The Santa ClauseMr. WhittleScott Calvin's Boss
1995The SurgeonLt. McEllwaine
1995Born to Be WildGus Charnley
1995While You Were SleepingOx
1996Final VendettaJay Glass
1996Milk & MoneyBelted Galloway
1997That Darn CatPa
1998Species IIDr. Herman Cromwell
1998Dr. DolittleMr. Calloway
2001Monster's BallBuck Grotowski
2002The Cat ReturnsMutavoice only in English version
2002The Adventures of Pluto NashRowland
2002The Santa Clause 2Father TimeUncredited
2002Bat's Fools is Bad Dog'sDr. Scream Devil
2004Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters UnleashedOld Man Jeremiah Wickles
2006The Santa Clause 3: The Escape ClauseFather Time
2008All Roads Lead HomePooveyReleased posthumously


1986Joe BashJoe Bash6 episodes
1988Cagney & LaceyPhillip GreenlowEpisode: "A Class Act"
19891991Midnight CallerJ.J. Killian3 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1990PoochinskiStanley PoochinskiTV pilot
19921993Flying BlindAlicia's Dad2 episodes
1993TriBeCaHarryEpisode: "The Hopeless Romantic"
19941995NYPD BlueDan Breen5 episodes
19941996Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanBill Church, Sr.2 episodes
1995The X-FilesClyde BruckmanEpisode: "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1996The Single GuyWalter Eliot2 episodes
19962005Everybody Loves RaymondFrank 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
1997CosbyFrank BaroneEpisode: "Lucas Raymondicus"
1998The King of QueensFrank BaroneEpisode: "Road Rayage"
2005Tripping the RiftMarvinEpisode: "Roswell"


  1. Klemesrud, Judy (August 2, 1970). "Joe (1970) Movies: His Happiness Is A Thing Called 'Joe'". The New York Times.
  2. "". Archived from the original on 2012-12-17.
  3. Dennis McLellan (December 14, 2006). "Peter Boyle, 71; father on 'Raymond'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  4. "Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia: Pete Boyle". Broadcast Pioneers. Retrieved 2007-02-01.(includes 1953 photo)
  5. Berkvist, Robert (December 14, 2006). "Peter Boyle, 71, Is Dead; Roles Evoked Laughter and Anger". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  6. "Biography for Peter Boyle". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  7. Stephen Miller (December 14, 2006). "Peter Boyle, 71, Character Actor Played Psychotics and Monsters". The New York Sun. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  8. Gerry Wilkinson. "Florence Hanford, a Broadcast Pioneer". Broadcast Pioneers. Archived from the original on November 28, 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
  9. Robert Berkvist (December 14, 2006). "Peter Boyle, 71, Is Dead; Roles Evoked Laughter and Anger". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  10. HB Studio Alumni
  11. Adam Bernstein (December 14, 2006). "Peter Boyle; 'Raymond' Dad Put Some Ritz in 'Young Frankenstein'". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  12. "In Step With: Peter Boyle". Parade Magazine. August 15, 2004.
  13. Deepti Hajela (13 December 2006). "BAD LINK". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  14. David Hiltbrand (21 March 2004). "You may love Raymond, but you don't know Peter". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  15. "Joe Bash". Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  16. Videos, both aired and unaired, are routinely distributed to the music press; this clip appears on fan-made bootleg video compilations: "Roger Waters on Video". Going Underground Magazine. Retrieved 2007-02-01. Reprinted at Pink Floyd RoIO Database: Roger Waters Video Anthology
  17. "Three Wishes". YouTube. 27 November 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-05-19. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  18. Catholic News Service (14 December 2006). "Catholic actor Peter Boyle, a former Christian Brother, dies at age 71". Catholic Online. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
  19. "TV Land's The 100 Greatest TV Quotes..." Yahoo! Finance. 22 November 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-01-23. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  20. "Peter Boyle". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-12-11.
  21. "Raymond' star Peter Boyle dies at 71". Associated Press. 17 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  22. Gilsdorf, Ethan (2007-06-03). "Not the retiring type - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  23. "'Raymond' Cast Mourns Peter Boyle". CBS News. 2006-12-13.
  24. "Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band - Meeting Across The River". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
  25. "Peter Boyle Fund Annual Comedy Gala". Archived from the original on 2010-01-16.
  26. "About The Peter Boyle Memorial Fund". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18.
  27. "Screen Actors Guild Awards Past Nominees & Recipients". SAG Awards. Archived from the original on 2007-01-27. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
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