Peter Boyle Landed His Role on ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ For An Unconventional Reason

Everybody Loves Raymond ran for nine seasons on CBS and remains one of the network’s most beloved sitcoms, 15 years after the final episode aired. While the show was about Ray Barone and how his young family navigated life, Ray’s parents, Frank Barone, portrayed by Peter Boyle, and Marie Barone, performed by Doris Roberts, often stole the show. Boyle’s audition for the series back in the 1990s was far from conventional. In fact, Boyle’s difficulty in getting to the audition might have helped him land the role.

Boyle had an illustrious career before Everybody Loves Raymond

Before he became Frank Barone, Boyle had an illustrious acting career. His true breakout role came in 1974. Boyle, who had appeared in multiple movies starting in the 1960s, took on the part of The Monster in Young Frankenstein. The film premiered in 1974.  

Two years later, Boyle appeared in Taxi Driver as Wizard. During his 40 years in Hollywood, Boyle amassed more than 90 acting credits and appeared in everything from TV series to mini-series and movies. His longest-lasting role, however, was on Everybody Loves Raymond. Boyle appeared as Frank in all 210 episodes of the series.

Peter Boyle landed the role of Frank Barone by acting nothing like himself

Boyle didn’t think he was a shoo-in for the role of Frank, initially. Unlike Romano, who the show was crafted for, Boyle had to audition. The process of getting to the audition was so time-consuming and irritating that Boyle walked into the office livid. In an interview with Larry King in 2002, Boyle recalled that he had a difficult time getting onto the studio’s lot. Once he was on the lot, he couldn’t find a parking space and had walked into the wrong office. He said by the time he reached the officer where Romano and executive producer, Phil Rosenthal, were waiting for him; he was absolutely enraged.

Peter Boyle in 'Young Frankenstein'
Peter Boyle in ‘Young Frankenstein | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Romano recalled that Boyle had walked into the office sweating and yelling, and he was instantly given the role of Frank since Ray’s father was supposed to be irritable and easily angered. All of the irritation might not have been necessary, though. In the same interview, Romano recalled that Les Moonves, a CBS executive, had already tapped Boyle for the role. Audition or no audition, Moonves was planning to give Boyle the job.

Peter Boyle was diagnosed with terminal cancer while working on Everybody Loves Raymond

While Boyle spent years playing the difficult and ornery Frank, he was beloved on the set by his on-screen family. His passing, in 2006, hit each cast and crew member hard. Boyle knew that he had cancer years before his death, but decided to keep the diagnosis largely a secret.  Doris Roberts recounted to the LA Times that Boyle had told her about his diagnosis three years before his death and asked her if he should inform everyone on the set. She told him it was best not to because they would treat him differently.

Doris Roberts as Marie Barone and Peter Boyle as Frank Barone
Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle | Tony Esparza/CBS via Getty Images

Boyle took her advice and only told a select few castmembers about the disease. Everybody Loves Raymond concluded with Boyle playing his signature role. The show aired its final episode in May 2005. Boyle died in December 2006 after a lengthy battle with multiple myeloma. Romano paid tribute to his on-screen father shortly after his passing. He told CBS News, “He gave me great advice, he always made me laugh, and the way he connected with everyone around him amazed me. The fact that he could play a convincing curmudgeon on the show, but in reality be such a compassionate and thoughtful person, is a true testament to his talent,”

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