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This story first appeared in the Sept. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
“Eye candy,” jokes Ray Romano, 54, about why his CBS series Everybody Loves Raymond resonated so deeply with viewers during its near-decadelong run. “I took my shirt off a lot,” chimes in Brad Garrett, as if on cue.
But it was their “everyfamily” dynamic that captured audiences and earned Raymond best comedy series in 2003 and 2005. “Everybody either saw a member of their family or themselves. You laugh because it’s funny, and you cry because it’s true,” says the writer-producer-star of the series, based largely on his and series creator and executive producer Phil Rosenthal’s home lives.
“Every [man] has what we had,” offers Rosenthal, now 52. “A wife that doesn’t like him.” Beat. “Boy, was that expensive,” deadpans
Garrett of his 2006 divorce from Jill Diven.
As if back on set, Romano can’t resist the bait: “Well, half of the amount of money you made is still a lot of money. It’s the new one you got to watch out for.”
Seven years after filming the show’s final scene, it’s clear this on-camera family maintains unique chemistry and a welldeveloped comedic rhythm that continues to translate to audiences in syndication and in more than 150 countries. “D-Money,” bellows Garrett, 52, when Doris Roberts arrives at the THR photo shoot, as Patricia Heaton jumps out of her makeup chair to greet her former co-star.
“I think people really got the authenticity of the show,” says Heaton, 54, of the series, for which she took home lead comedy actress statuettes in 2000 and 2001. “It was never about anything major; it was just the idea of taking small everyday incidences and unpacking them.” All of the chatter and jokes aside at this warm “family” reunion — punctuated by Garrett removing his shirt halfway through the shoot — there clearly was someone missing: Peter Boyle.
The series co-star (who earned 10 Emmy noms and one win of his own) died in 2006 of heart disease shortly after the series wrapped. “We had never worked together before, but the minute we go onstage, it was as if we had been married for 45 years,” recalls Roberts, 86, of her onscreen husband. “And we got more laughs just giving each other dirty looks than anything else.”
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