‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: This Cast Member Admitted To Being a ‘High-Functioning Alcoholic’ During Season 1

Most fans of Everybody Loves Raymond know the legendary sitcom is based on the families of star Ray Romano and executive producer Phil Rosenthal. While art often imitated life on the iconic CBS show, some cast members kept certain life situations under wraps.

One cast member described being a “high-functioning alcoholic” during the first season of the show in a 2015 memoir.

Cast of 'Everybody Loves Raymond': (L-R) Peter Boyle, Doris Roberts, Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, and Monica Horan
Cast of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: (L-R) Peter Boyle, Doris Roberts, Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, and Monica Horan | Monty Brinton/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

Ray Romano’s brother is cast

In a 2002 interview on Larry King Live, Romano commented on creating the storylines for Everybody Loves Raymond by bringing in personal stories from himself, Rosenthal, and the writing team.

“That was where we started with, based on all the characters in my life and kind of a situation I was living,” Romano told King. “But it’s a combination. Phil Rosenthal, our executive producer, it’s his parents also. And every writer – we have 10 great writers, and every one of them brings something from their life.”

In casting Ray’s brother Robert, Romano created a character that emulated his real-life sibling Richard, a New York police officer. While comedian Brad Garrett nailed the role, his 6’8″ height didn’t exactly reflect Richard’s stature.

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“They said we think we’re going to go with Brad Garrett,” Romano recalled. “And this was based on my brother in real life, who is about 5’10”.

Robert’s iconic quirk was a real habit of Richard’s

Though there may have been a vast height difference, Garrett’s character took on Richard’s persona of an NYPD cop as well as some other idiosyncrasies of Romano’s brother.

One of the the most famous quirks of Robert’s on Everybody Loves Raymond was his compulsion of touching food to his chin while eating. Regardless if the meal was steak, chips, cake, or yogurt, Robert’s utensil touched his chin before his mouth. Turns out this eccentricity was a genuine habit of Richard’s.

“Ray’s brother does that. Rich really does that, if he’s sweating out a Yankees game … out of a nervous thing, he’ll touch the remote to his chin,” Garrett told the Television Academy Foundation. “He did it with remotes, he did it with food all the time … I think it’s kind of a nervous twitch. I think [Everybody Loves Raymond] helped him stop doing it.”

Brad Garrett ‘hid’ something during season 1

While bringing in anecdotes from the cast and production team’s personal lives contributed to the success of the show, Garrett was able to keep one issue in his life off the set.

“I was what they call a high-functioning alcoholic,” Garrett told Entertainment Tonight. “I hid it really well.”

In his 2015 book When the Balls Drop, Garrett described using comedy as a defense mechanism throughout his life. His drinking became another way to avoid issues he needed to face. After Everybody Loves Raymond debuted in 1996, the comedian decided he needed to make a change.

“It was just a realization that I probably wasn’t going to make it,” Garrett said. “I would hit a fifth a day sometimes, and that’s a lot … Raymond had just really started to take off. It was after year one.”

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Writing in his book, “The key for me was quite simply to not drink,” Garrett embarked on a path of sobriety. With the sitcom airing its series finale in 2005, Garrett is still grateful for his time on Everybody Loves Raymond.

“It’s an incredibly unique opportunity. I was lucky,” he told Fox News in 2015. “I auditioned for the show, I had been training for twenty years before then. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think, ‘Oh I’m a lucky pup.’”