Friday, December 15, 2006

Peter Boyle

All the obits are saying Peter Boyle will be best-remembered for his years on Everybody Loves Raymond. I suppose that's true, but I never watched the show.

I will remember him, though, for all the great work he did in film, especially in the 70s.

He first gained wide acclaim in the title role of Joe (1970). So many supported the hippie-bashing of the film that Boyle shied away from such violent roles, even turning down the lead in The French Connection. He mostly appeared in supporting roles for the rest of his career.

In 1972 he did an amazing job as Robert Redford's handler in The Candidate. The film encouraged Dan Quayle to enter politics (did he get it?); I have to wonder if Boyle's Svengali-like role hit Karl Rove the same way.

He hardly speaks as the monster in Young Frankenstein (1974), but it's his best part. There are at least two classic sequences--the soup scene with the blind man (Gene Hackman) and the monster's social debut where he performs "Puttin' On The Ritz" with Doctor Frankenstein.

In 1976 he was great as a taxi driver (not the taxi driver ) in Taxi Driver. In 1979 he was powerful in Hardcore, an film about the world of pornography. And in 1980, in a generally forgotten film, Where The Buffalo Roam, he's quite memorable as Hunter Thompson's crazy lawyer.

He never got roles quite as good as these again, but he always worked. As mentioned above, he gained his greatest fame in the last decade of his life. A lot of actors don't have second acts, so I hope he was pleased.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trivia -in addition to Joe as noted in the post, Peter Boyle also played the title character in two other movies (one was a TV movie) with the name "Joe" in the title.

7:45 PM, December 14, 2006  

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