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Remembering Uncle Pete

Boyle He seemed to always play the curmudgeon, though he was anything but.  Peter Boyle, who died last night here in New York City at age 71, was not only a marvelous character actor - he was also my uncle.  The acting genes run deep in my family - my mother, Peter's sister, is a tremendously talented stage actress who's still juggling roles at 78. Philadelphians of a certain age might recall my grandfather, who hosted a local children's TV show as "Chuckwagon Pete" in the very early days of television and worked with Ernie Kovacs. His eldest daughter, Lucy, is already an accomplished actress and playwright.

But it was Uncle Pete who had the highest profile career, one he came by somewhat by chance after briefly considering a monastic life with the Christian Brothers.  The first movie I remember him in was Joe, a 1970 film in which he played a bigoted, Archie Bunker type without the charm.  I don't really remember the movie, since I was five and it was deemed unsuitable for impressionable eyes.

In the film, Pete's character is filled with virulent hatred for hippies and antiwar protesters and I remember him telling us how unnerved he was by people coming up to him, imagining he was like the character he played, cheering him on.  In fact, Uncle Pete loathed violence and intolerance.  He turned down the Gene Hackman role in The French Connection because he felt it glamorized violence and would typecast him as some kind of thug.  Given what the part did for Hackman, he might have made a different choice if he had it to do over, but he was nothing if not a man of principle.

He seemed to specialize in playing against his type - urbane, kind, cultured - the green-painted, zipper-necked monster in Young Frankenstein, Billy Bob Thornton's repellent father in Monster's Ball, and Ray Romano's cranky father in Everybody Loves Raymond.  It amused our family no end to see how much people associated him with the character he played - Uncle Pete was the last person I could imagine in a BarcaLounger with the top button on his pants undone, declaiming "Holy crap!" to all and sundry.  He was that good an actor.  But he was an even better uncle. 

I remember visits to movie sets as a child, being invited into his world as an honored guest.  But I also remember smaller gestures that in retrospect seem much bigger - like being 7 or 8 years old, and having a meltdown about something at a family gathering.  Uncle Pete left the party and sat with me for an hour, consoling me about whatever it was that was bothering me, making me think I was the only one that mattered.  Which, to your average kid, is huge.  You just want to matter.  And you want people to notice.  Uncle Pete noticed.  And more than anything, that's why I'll miss him. 

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To Clare and Peter Boyle's family: Hello. I'm deeply sorry about the death of Peter Boyle. I really loved his acting and everything I knew about him made me realize he was such a magnificent human beeing. I remember him mostly for his role in While you were sleeping as Oz. That's my favourite movie and mostly because of him. He made me wish to have a family like that one and a father like him. In Everybody Loves Raymond he was my favourite too. He made me laugh so many times... He'll be missed for so many people... Me included.

It's not gonna be the same again to watch Everybody Loves Raymond without Peter Boyle.

I will miss him. He was the reason i watch that series, because I wanna see his funny comments about everyting. Yes, I will miss him so much.

God rest his soul..

I can remember the X Files episode in which he played an insurance agent with the curse of premonition. It was so well acted that it burned his acting into my brain. It was also so tearful. I was crying like a baby at the end.
Peter, you will not have to "work on your closing". You are wonderful in heaven and on earth.
God bless you and your family.

I want to express my deepest sympathies to Peter Doyle's family. I watched all the series of Everyone Loves Raymond and expecially love him in his role as Frank Barone. They seemed to all fit in well together and love one another. Thanks to him and all the other cast members for giving us such wonderful entertainment.

What a shame to lose someone so talented when i first heard I didn't want to believe it. I loved his role in Everybody Loves Raymond and how he played it is a great loss and he will be missed. RIP

I loved Peter Boyle's character in Everybody Loves Raymond. His staunch image & sarcastic words on the show will be missed.

To the personal friends and family of Peter Boyle my heartfelt prayers are with you in this trying time. Peter will be greatly missed not only by you but also his fans of so many years.

To the personal friends and family of Peter Boyle my heartfelt prayers are with you in this trying time. Peter will be greatly missed not only by you but also his fans of so many years.

Peter Boyle was a wonderful actor and father.I will always remember him when i watch everybody loves raymond.He was my favorite character.He had so much remarcable talent.Ours prays to him and his family.I will miss you.

My husband asked me why I watch EBLR over and over again. I said to him, it reminds me of growing up in a family who clearly loves each other, but have a screwball way of showing it. Peter's character as Frank Barone and his real life character described as a gentle, patient soul reminds me of my dad. When I learned of his transition, I was saddened for myself and his personal family, and television family. May God comfort your hearts and know this; He is putting on a show in heaven.

to clare,and family god bless you and pete!

My Kids watch the show all the time and my son is addicted to the show. Mr. Boyle is excellent in his character. I will remember him with sounds of holy crap.

Clare, when I heard of Peter's passing, I was as shocked as if I had lost a family member. He was a mench in his field and I will sorely miss him. God bless him in Heaven, and thank God for reruns!

Well... i must confess that I never watched Peter in 'Raymond' although I was aware of his great work on the show.I will remember him for his ironic take as "Fronkinsteens" Tap dancing monster and for his line "Im not smiling, Im wincing" on the X Files. and I'll also remember him for being a good friend of my hero John Lennon.

Peter Boyle was i think the most loved person on "Everybody Loves Raymond" because he just had a different way of saying things and he was just so funny and i dont think i'll ever forget him.

I loved Peter on ELR, but my favorite scene was in "While You Were Sleeping" when Sandra Bullock says "I fell in love with you," and Ox says "You fell in love with me?" I think we all have and will miss him very much.

It was a great joy to watch Frank Barone, and a great shock to to loose him , our condolences to his family and friends.

To the boyle family, and the crew of everybody loves raymond, we were so shocked to hear about the great loss of mr. peter boyle which i will always remember him as "frank" we would watch him everyday on everybody loves raymond he was the best charecter in the show ...... we will miss him .......

I will never forget Mr. Boyle in "Young Frankenstein". It was the first movie that I attended multiple times. I really got a kick watching him and Gene Hackman (the blind man) in their scene. It still cracks me up. I will always remember him with a smile. I will miss him too.

I met Mr. Boyle years ago out on Long Island at a benefit. he was tall and polite and charming.
His X-Files performance was classic, along with his
long list of screen & TV work.
I'll miss him.

There will never be another Peter Boyle or Frank Barone for that matter. Everybody Loves Peter, thanks for all the great memories, you will be missed. God Speed Brother!!!!

You made so many people laugh and smile, and even bring them from sadness to happyness when we were down and out. Thanks for all the memories as we all continue to watch your episodes on TV.

First let me send by sincere condolences to the family for their loss. Yesterday when I heard about our great loss of Peter, I felt like I lost a friend. I am an avid fan of the show and especially the humor of his character. Peter will be greatly missed by those he touched with his infectious humor.

My deepest sympathy, Clare, to you and your family.

Referring to his character on "Everybody loves Raymond" -- I can't think of anyone who was more talented at making sarcasm as hilarious as your Uncle Pete did ... he will most certainly be missed.

Bravo Peter Boyle! You are sorely missed already.

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Everybody Loved Uncle Pete: Peter Boyle always played the curmudgeon, though he was anything but. His niece, an NBC news producer, pays tribute to the urbane, kind, cultured character actor, who died yesterday.(The Daily Nightly)...

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