Goodbye, Peter Boyle

Peter Boyle, one of TV and film's most versatille and funny actors, died last night at the age of 71. Although a lot of younger viewers might know him best as Frank on Everybody Loves Raymond, Boyle's dramatic and comedic abilities went far beyond sitcoms. Of his recent roles, the most memorable is probably as the grim Buck Grotowski in 2001's Monster's Ball. There's no escaping his turn as the monster in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, or his supporting part in Taxi Driver. Among his better TV appearances: As a reluctant clairvoyant helping out with a murder investigation on a 1995 episode of The X-Files, and, A.V. Club's Noel Murray points out, the "Dueling Brandos" skit on a 1976 Saturday Night Live, in which he traded Marlon Brando lines with John Belushi.

A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin adds: 1970's Joe is pretty much the definitive Peter Boyle performance for me. He famously turned down the lead in French Connection (not such a wise move in the grand scheme of things) because he was horrified at how audiences had embraced his psychotic, hippie-hating (and hunting) Joe anti-hero. Oh and he was a big hippie lefty drug-using denizen of the sixties counterculture/New Hollywood who was buddies with pretty much everyone from that period (John Lennon was best man at his wedding).