Peter Boyle dies at 71

Peter Boyle, who portrayed Ray Romano's father on the CBS hit Everybody Loves Raymond, died Tuesday night at New York Presbyterian Hospital at age 71. He had been suffering from multiple myeloma and heart disease.

Boyle grew up in Philadelphia and attended Roman Catholic schools as a child, eventually entering into a monastery. After several years, he left and went on the road with legendary acting teacher Uta Hagen. He stopped in Chicago to study with the improv group Second City. Eventually, Boyle began getting parts in commericals and on TV shows in New York.

Joe, the 1970 film in which Boyle played an angry bigot who seethed with murderous rage against hippies, put the actor on the map.

"The film, largely due to his performance, became a sleeper hit," film critic Leonard Maltin said today. "And he just took off overnight."

Mel Brooks' 1974 film Young Frankenstein catapulted Boyle to comedy stardom. Critic Roger Ebert wrote that Boyle, playing the monster opposite Gene Wilder's Dr. Frankenstein, "somehow manages to be hilarious and pathetic at the same time." Frankenstein became one of the top grossing comedies of the 1970s.

Around that time, Boyle became friends with musician John Lennon. When Boyle married in 1974, Lennon served as his best man.

In the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, which ran from 1996 to 2005, Boyle used his comedic glower to full effect as Frank Barone, the grouchy father of the titular Ray. In 1999, Boyle suffered a heart attack while on the set of the show but returned to work soon after.

Boyle was the only cast member of Raymond who never won an Emmy for the show. He did, however, win an Emmy for a guest appearance on The X-Files.

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