REMEMBERING PETER BOYLE
Not everybody knows that actor Peter Boyle and fellow anti-war activist John Lennon were friends — such good friends that Lennon was best man at Boyle’s marriage to Loraine Alterman in 1977.
Loraine, who worked for Rolling Stone magazine, knew Yoko Ono and from that a friendship was forged. “We’d go to dinner and we’d talk about everything from gurus to music to politics,” said Boyle.
Peter Boyle died on December 12, 2006 at the age of 71.
‘EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND’
Many people remember Peter Boyle as the cranky curmudgeon in the hit TV sitcom ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ and as the lovable monster in the movie ‘Young Frankenstein.’
But I remember him most dramatically from the violent 1970 anti-hippie movie ‘Joe.’ The final scene blew me away — as it did, literally, the hippies Joe hated.
Wealthy businessman Bill Compton confronts his junkie daughter’s drug-dealing boyfriend and in a furious argument, kills him. Panic-stricken, he wanders the streets and ends up in a bar, where he meets a drunken factory worker named Joe, who hates hippies, blacks, and anyone who is “different.” The two start talking, and in the end, it leads to this scene:
PETER BOYLE BIO
Peter Boyle was born on October 18, 1935, in Norristown, Pennsylvania. He grew into a 6-foot-two prematurely bald young man and pursued an acting career while working at many jobs, from bouncer to waiter.
His first break came in 1965 when he joined the national company of ‘The Odd Couple.’ In the late 1960s he joined Chicago’s Second City improv group. He made his Broadway debut as a replacement for Peter Bonerz in the 1971 play ‘Story Theatre.’
Boyle’s breakout film role, as the bigoted factory worker Joe, directed by John Avildsen, led to major supporting roles, including Robert Redford’s campaign manager in the 1972 film ‘The Candidate.’
Boyle joined ranks with Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland as a Vietnam War protester, which he brought to the screen in the 1973 anti-establishment picture ‘Steelyard Blues.’
It was at this time that he formed a strong friendship with John Lennon.
Seeking to avoid the stereotype of a violent character, Boyle played the lovable monster in the 1974 Mel Brooks spoof ‘Young Frankenstein.’ One of the most popular scenes was as the Fred Astaire-inspired dancer performing ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ with Gene Wilder.
Roles in the late 1970s included the self-absorbed cabbie in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ (1976) and a private investigator in Paul Schrader’s ’Hardcore’ (1979) with George C. Scott.
He acted in several TV mini-movie roles, including that of the stockade brute Fatso in the 1979 miniseries remake of ‘From Here to Eternity,’ and as right-wing Senator Joe McCarthy in ‘Tail Gunner Joe’ (1977), for which he received an Emmy nomination.
Despite a stroke in 1990 that impaired his speech for six months, Boyle was given the ‘Archie Bunker’-type role of Frank Barron in the long-running TV sitcom ‘Everybody Loves Raymond.’
He received seven Emmy nominations without a win, the only prime player on the show unhonored. In 1999, he survived a heart attack on the set but managed to return full time for the remainder of the series’ run through 2005.
He capped his career with an critically acclaimed turn as Billy Bob Thornton’s unrepentantly racist father in the 2001 Oscar-winner ‘Monster’s Ball.’
Boyle died of cancer at New York Presbyterian Hospital in 2006, and was survived by his wife Lorraine and two children. He was 71.
— With notes from IMDb