Thursday, December 12, 2013

Remembering Peter Boyle October 18, 1935 - December 12, 2006

From monastery to favorite and loved actor describes the life of Peter Boyle.

Born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Peter Boyle was the son of a Philadelphia Pennsylvania TV personality who hosted children's television programs.  Peter grew up in the Roman Catholic faith having attended a catholic high school for boys.  Following high school, he spent three years as a novice in the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a Catholic teaching order.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from LaSalle University but eventually left the order because he didn't feel committed to a religious life.  He took a job as a cameraman on a cooking show while in Philadelphia.  In 1959, Boyle graduated from Officer Candidate School in the US Navy but discontinued his service because of emotional issues.

He began his career in acting when he moved to New York City and studied acting while working for the US Postal service as a clerk.  His first role in entertainment was the role of a policeman in "The Odd Couple.  Soon he found himself performing in a comedy club in Chicago.

His first starring performance was his role as a bigot in the 1970 film, "Joe" The movie was controversial because of it's violence and poor language.  During that time, Boyle developed a friendship with actress, Jane Fonda and found himself a protester of the Vietnam War.  Over time, Boyle earned more and more roles in popular films including "a campaign manager for Robert Redford" in "The Candidate" and a "mobster" in "The Friends of Eddie Co

Peter as Frankenstein
One of Boyle's most popular movie roles was "Young Frankenstein" where he played the monster.  He received an Emmy nomination for his performance in the television movie "Tail Gunner Joe." Other films include "Taxi Driver" "Hardcore" "While You Were Sleeping" and "Monster's Ball." He won an Emmy Award for his role as guest star of "The X-Files."

He also was popular in New York theater and Broadway for his roles in "The Roast" and "True West."

Peter as Frank Barone
Although Boyle had a highly successful film career, he still probably most remembered for his role in the popular television sitcom, "Everybody Loves Raymond" having played "Frank Barone" the patriarch of the family that aired from 1996-2005.  He had seven Emmy Award nominations but never won.  While on the set in 1999, Boyle suffered a heart attack and that crisis drew him back to the Catholic Church.  He also had roles in all three Santa Clause films and toward the end of his career, did television commercials for Alka Seltzer.

In 2006, Boyle had just completed his work in a film called "All Roads Lead Home" and was preparing to appear in "The Golden Boys" when he became ill and died on Dec. 12, 2006 from heart disease.  He was 71 years old.

Peter Boyle's prayer card
Peter Boyle's memorial service (funeral prayer card pictured) was attended by nearly 250 people and held on Dec. 18, 2006 in the Frank Campbell Funeral Chapel in New York that was attended by many celebrities including the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond along with Chevy Chase, Robert Klein, and Robert Kennedy Jr.  Among those who paid tribute to Boyle were actor Alan Alda, Steven Van Zandt, and singer, Judy Collins.  Trumpet maestro, Chris Botti performed Ave Maria and Ray Romano, Doris Roberts and Brad Garrett spoke lovingly of Boyle.

His close friend, actor Robert Klein said "I made him laugh two days before he died."  Peter and his daughter sang "Putting On The Ritz" (a song he performed as Frankenstein) at the end of his life that also put a smile on his face.

Boyle was cremated and his place of rest is unknown.

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