Monday, June 17, 2024

‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ star Ray Romano shared costar Peter Boyle was the reason the show survived

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Ray Romano is looking back on his days as a sitcom star.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Romano shared he was doubtful his hit sitcom, “Everybody Loves Raymond” would be a success and was nervous the entire first season. 

He credits costar Peter Boyle, who played his cantankerous father Frank Barone on the show, with helping the show become what it was. He explained Boyle was “one of the main reasons it worked” in his opinion, because he helped Romano “feel accepted and comfortable.”

“He wasn’t supposed to read. We were just supposed to have a meeting with him,” Romano told the outlet. “But he offered to read. And in his defense, it was a rough day for him. We really couldn’t gauge whether he was getting the comedy of it, and we still said, “It’s Peter Boyle, let’s just go with the best actor in the room.”

Ray Romano, right, credits Peter Boyle for the success of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” (George Pimentel/WireImage)

RAY ROMANO SUFFERED CHEST PAINS AND ANXIETY MAKING DIRECTORIAL DEBUT

The comedian went on to say they “rolled the dice” when hiring Boyle, because although they knew him to be a great actor, he had mostly acted in dramatic roles prior to starring in “Everybody Loves Raymond.” He said, however, that their gamble “paid off because he was hilarious.”

Aside from being “the best actor in the room,” Boyle was also the most interesting man in the room, according to Romano, who shared he “was a monk sworn to silence for two years,” and lived in a monastery during his “pre-Hollywood days.”

“His wife was a reporter for Rolling Stone. And she interviewed him, and that’s how they met,” the 66-year-old explained. “She was friends with Yoko Ono. They all started hanging out. And when they got married, John Lennon was the best man at Peter’s wedding. So, he’s just a fascinating guy and totally different from the character that he played on my show.”

Romano and Boyle starred alongside each other on the sitcom for 210 episodes over the course of nine seasons, from 1996 to 2005. Both actors, along with other actors from the show, including Brad Garret, Patricia Heaton and Doris Roberts, received Emmy Award nominations for their performances.

The cast of "Everybody Loves Raymond" at the Emmy Awards.

All principle cast members of the show won or were nominated for Emmy Awards. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Boyle died in December 2006 from myeloma at the age of 71, and Romano made sure to continue honoring his mentor in any way he could, including hosting the charity event Boyle’s wife Lorraine started to raise money for the International Myeloma Foundation. 

Overall, Romano considers himself “lucky” to have found so many talented actors to star in his first sitcom.

“Listen, when you’re creating a sitcom, you’ve got to get lucky. And we got lucky that we found Peter, we found Doris Roberts and even Brad Garrett. You know, we didn’t write that role. Brad brought this persona that was nowhere in our minds when we were creating the show. So, we got lucky there. All those things had to fall in place for it to be successful.”

Garrett portrayed Romano’s brother on the show, Robert, a police officer who moves back in with his parents following his divorce, and who is in constant competition with Romano’s character Raymond. Roberts played his overbearing mother, who lived across the street and took every opportunity available to criticize Raymond’s wife Debra, played by Heaton.

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A promo shoot for "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Ray Romano was filled with doubt throughout the entire run of the show. (CBS via Getty Images)

While the reruns continue to bring happiness to audiences all over America, Romano cannot enjoy it the same way his fans do.

“If I’m being brutally honest, I was filled with doubt all the time. I don’t know if I’m acting well, and I know I’m not in the first season,” he explained. “I can look back and see I’m stiff. We’re trying to kind of nail down the tone. And so it’s a little bumpy in the beginning.”

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