‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: Ray Romano’s Father Appeared as This Character on the Show
The classic comedy Everybody Loves Raymond was a true family affair. Executive producer Phil Rosenthal’s wife played Amy Barone on the series. And the show’s three child actors Madylin, Sawyer, and Sullivan Sweeten were siblings in real life.
The show star Ray Romano’s real-life dad, Al, also put in a few guest appearances on the comedy.
Peter Boyle played Ray Romano’s dad
Asked how similar Romano’s real family was to their fictional counterpart, Frank Barone actor Peter Boyle exclaimed, “Close enough! Close enough. It was really amazing to me.”
The Young Frankenstein star explained in meeting Romano’s father that he deliberately chose not to spend too much time with his real-life equivalent for performance purposes.
“I spoke with his father but I didn’t want to get too close with his father because I didn’t want to be tied into … Basically I took my character from Raymond’s eyes,” Boyle revealed.
Boyle himself still seemed in awe of how similar to the real thing the Everybody Loves Raymond cast was.
“It was amazing that here’s this guy who’s making a sitcom about his real family and they’re really there,” he said. “There’s not a lot of exaggeration in the whole thing.”
Ray Romano’s father had this recurring role
Romano’s father Albert, has his very own IMDb entry listing his role as “Lewis/Al” on Everybody Loves Raymond. Al portrayed one of Frank Barone’s lodge buddies in a few lodge-related episodes.
In an interview with NPR, Romano explained that much of Frank Barone was based on his father. Frank’s dual brusqueness and lack of expressiveness, Romano said, was just like his dad, Al.
“We would take what my father did and censor it down for the sitcom,” he said. “And that’s not to say – you know, our relationship was actually really good at the end. But growing up he was, he came from a family, his father left him when he was two or three and came back into his life when I was an adult. I remember visiting his father when he came back into the picture. So he grew up – you know, it wasn’t the best of situations for him emotionally and he was very undemonstrative – that’s just the way he was.”
Peter Boyle captured Al Romano’s character
Boyle’s portrayal of Frank Barone fully depicted Al Romano’s character, both the harsh side as well as the vulnerable underbelly rarely seen: “I knew he loved me but we never heard it,” Ray said of his real father. “He had a hard time saying it. He had a hard time – I never heard him say my mother’s first name. Lucy is my mother’s name and I’ve never heard him say that because that was too intimate for him. And this is how we grew up.”
The Frank Barone actor said that meeting Romano’s father “confirmed to me what I was doing was right. I didn’t want to get into a commitment to be like his real father. I was basically a fictional father.”