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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 18:16 GMT
US actor Peter Boyle dies aged 71
Peter Boyle
Boyle starred in 10 series of Everybody Loves Raymond
Emmy award-winning actor Peter Boyle, best known as the curmudgeonly father in the US sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, has died at the age of 71.

Boyle came to fame in 1974 playing a tap-dancing monster in Mel Brook's spoof horror movie Young Frankenstein.

He has also been seen in Malcolm X, Taxi Driver and, most recently, The Santa Clause Three.

He had been suffering from cancer of the bone marrow and heart disease and died in a New York hospital on Tuesday.

Educated in Roman Catholic schools in Philadelphia, Boyle spent three years in a monastery before abandoning his studies there.

He later described the experience as similar to "living in the Middle Ages".


After studying under German-born acting teacher Ute Hagen in New York, he began to get work in the theatre, and received his big break in film with the 1970 movie Joe.

He won acclaim for his role as a burly, angry, construction worker - but quickly began to feel he was being typecast in violent blue-collar roles, which led him to sign up for Young Frankenstein.

The movie's defining moment saw Boyle's monster in top hat and tails dancing to Putting on the Ritz in front of a startled upmarket audience.

It was on the set of Young Frankenstein, while still in his character make-up, that Boyle met his future wife, Rolling Stone reporter Loraine Alterman.

She was a friend of Yoko Ono and, through her, Boyle came to know John Lennon, who was best man at the couple's wedding in 1977.

In the same year, he won his first Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Senator Joe McCarthy in the TV film Tail Gunner Joe.

Boyle also continued to appear on the big screen, playing the cabbie-philosopher Wizard, who counselled Robert De Niro's violent Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.

He also took roles in Johnny Dangerously, While You Were Sleeping and Monster's Ball.


In 1990, Boyle suffered a stroke and could not talk for six months, but he soon returned to work and, in 1996, finally won an Emmy for a cameo role on The X Files.

He made his debut in Everybody Loves Raymond the same year, playing the long-suffering Frank Barone.

"He's just obnoxious in a nice way, just for laughs," he said of the character in a 2001 interview.

The show's creator, Phil Rosenthal, said Boyle was "nothing like Frank Barone, and that makes his performance even more impressive".

In 1999, Boyle had a heart attack on the set of the sitcom, but made a speedy recovery and stayed with the series until it ended.

The sitcom was a constant fixture on US TV and 32 million people watched the finale in May 2005.

Boyle picked up a further seven Emmy nominations during his nine years on the show, but lost on more than one occasion to his co-star Brad Garrett.

Despite his work in Everybody Loves Raymond and other Hollywood productions, Boyle made New York City his home.

He and his wife had two daughters, Lucy and Amy.

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