- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) — Peter Boyle, the actor who transformed from an angry workingman in “Joe” to a tap-dancing monster in “Young Frankenstein” and finally the comically grouchy father on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” has died. He was 71.

Mr. Boyle died Tuesday evening at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He had been suffering from multiple myeloma and heart disease, said his publicist, Jennifer Plante.

“It’s like losing a spouse,” said Doris Roberts, who played his wife on “Raymond.” “I’m going to miss my dear friend, so unlike the character he played on television. He’s a brilliant actor, a gentleman, incredibly intelligent, wonderfully well-read and a loving friend.”

The tall, prematurely balding Mr. Boyle gained notice in the title role of the 1970 sleeper hit “Joe,” playing an angry, murderous bigot at odds with the emerging hippie youth culture.

Briefly typecast in tough, irascible roles, Mr. Boyle began to escape the image as Robert Redford’s campaign manager in “The Candidate” and left it behind entirely after “Young Frankenstein,” Mel Brooks’ 1974 send-up of horror films.

“Young Frankenstein” showed another side of Mr. Boyle, one that would be best exploited in the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” in which he played curmudgeon Frank Barone for 10 years.

“He’s just obnoxious in a nice way, just for laughs,” Mr. Boyle said of the character in a 2001 interview.

“Peter was an incredible man who made all of us who had the privilege of working with him aspire to be better actors.” said Patricia Heaton, who played Mr. Boyle’s daughter-in-law on “Raymond.” “He was loved by everyone that knew him and loved by his many fans who cherished his talent.”

Mr. Boyle met his wife, Loraine Alterman, on the set of “Young Frankenstein” when she visited as a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine. He asked her for a date while still in monster makeup.

On television, he starred in “Joe Bash,” an acclaimed but short-lived 1986 “dramedy” in which he played a lonely beat cop. He won an Emmy in 1996 for his guest-starring role in an episode of “The X Files,” and he was nominated for “Everybody Loves Raymond” and for the 1977 TV film “Tail Gunner Joe,” in which he played Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

The son of a local TV personality in Philadelphia, Mr. Boyle was educated in Roman Catholic schools and spent three years in a monastery before abandoning his religious studies. He later described the experience as similar to “living in the Middle Ages.”

He traveled to New York, supporting himself for five years with various jobs, including postal worker, waiter, maitre d’ and office temp. Finally, he was cast in a road company version of “The Odd Couple.” When the play reached Chicago, he quit to study with that city’s famed improvisational troupe Second City.

Upon returning to New York, he began to land roles in TV commercials, off-Broadway plays and finally films.

Mr. Boyle and his wife had two daughters, Lucy and Amy.

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