‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: Peter Boyle Was Extremely Irritable When He Auditioned For Frank

It’s been almost 24 years since the CBS hit Everybody Loves Raymond debuted. But although the television world has moved on, the characters from the show have stayed with people. One of those characters, Frank Barone, is still loved for his grumpy, antisocial attitude. Peter Boyle played Frank, and fans agree that he was perfect for the part. But he might not have gotten the role if it hadn’t been for a string of bad luck the day he auditioned. 

Peter Boyle performing standup, holding a microphone
Peter Boyle | Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Frank was an important part of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’

The series was created by Phil Rosenthal and Ray Romano, Vox reports. It was based on Romano’s stand-up comedy act, which drew heavily on his own life. So if the characters and relationships seem true-to-life, it’s because they were inspired by an actual family. 

In the show, the Barones were a tight-knit family. Maybe a little too tight-knit. Raymond and his wife Debra lived across the street from Raymond’s parents, Frank and Marie. Much of the show’s relatable humor centers on Marie’s overbearing style of love and Frank’s grumpy take on just about everything. While Marie was represented as the kind of mother who wanted to insert herself into every part of Raymond’s life, Frank was shown as someone who just wanted to be left alone with his television. 

Boyle hadn’t done a lot of work in comedy before he played Frank, except for one well-received role in Young Doctor Frankenstein in 1974. In fact, most of his work over his long career was playing intimidating criminals. But if the producers wondered if he was up to the comedic turn as Frank, his audition convinced them otherwise. 

Peter Boyle had a bad day

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The day Boyle auditioned for the part of Frank, he had the good fortune to experience a lot of bad luck. He ran into a number of setbacks, starting with the gate guards at the studio. They didn’t want to let him in at first, according to Screenrant. When they finally relented, he had trouble finding a parking spot. As if that weren’t enough, he then went into the wrong building. 

We’ve all had days like that, when everything seems to be going wrong. Boyle reacted just as most of us do, and by the time he found the right room, he was in a pretty bad mood. 

While showing up for a job interview in a foul temper might not work out well for most people, it was ideal for Boyle that day. His irritation was a perfect match for Frank, and he got the job. 

After the show

Boyle played Frank for all nine seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond. Even though he suffered a stroke and a heart attack in 1999, he still returned to finish out the series. His work as Frank earned him seven Emmy nominations, and he was well-loved as the grouchy, stubborn Frank. 

Sadly, Boyle passed away just one year after Everybody Loves Raymond went off the air. He suffered from multiple myeloma and heart disease, which ultimately took his life in 2006 at the age of 71.

For the cast of the show, Boyle’s death is one of the reasons they can’t imagine doing a reunion show. Doris Roberts, who played Frank’s wife Marie, has also died, and it’s hard to imagine the Barones without them. 

Fans of the show continue to appreciate Boyle’s work as Frank. He was obviously the right actor for the job. Even though people wouldn’t have wished him a hard time, it’s a safe bet to say that most are grateful that he ran into so many problems that lucky day.