Peter Boyle, American actor, Died at 70

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Peter Lawrence Boyle died on December 12, 2006 at the age of 70 after battling multiple myeloma and heart disease, he was an American actor.

Born on October 18, 1935, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, the son of Alice (née Lewis) and Francis Xavier Boyle.

He moved with his family to nearby Philadelphia.

His father was a Philadelphia TV personality from 1951–1963 who, among many other things, played the Western-show host Chuck Wagon Pete, and hosted the afterschool children’s program Uncle Pete Presents the Little Rascals, which showed vintage Little Rascals, Three Stooges comedy shorts and Popeye cartoons.

Boyle gained acclaim for his first starring role, playing the title character, a bigoted New York City factory worker, in the 1970 movie Joe.

The film’s release was surrounded by controversy over its violence and language.

It was during this time that Boyle became close friends with actress Jane Fonda, and with her he participated in many protests against the Vietnam War.

After seeing people cheer at his role in Joe, Boyle refused the lead role in The French Connection (1971), as well as other movie and TV roles that he believed glamorized violence.

However in 1974, he starred in a film based on the life of murdered New York gangster “Crazy” Joey Gallo, called Crazy Joe.

Boyle had another hit role as Frankenstein’s monster in the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy Young Frankenstein, in which, in an homage to King Kong, the monster is placed onstage in top hat and tails, grunt-singing and dancing to the song “Puttin’ on the Ritz”.

Boyle said at the time, “The Frankenstein monster I play is a baby. He’s big and ugly and scary, but he’s just been born, remember, and it’s been traumatic, and to him the whole world is a brand new alien environment.

That’s how I’m playing it”. Boyle met his wife, Loraine Alterman, on the set of Young Frankenstein while she was there as a reporter for Rolling Stone.

He was still in his Frankenstein makeup when he asked her for a date. Through Alterman and her friend Yoko Ono, Boyle became friends with John Lennon, who was the best man at Boyle and Alterman’s 1977 wedding.

In October 1990, Boyle suffered a near-fatal stroke that rendered him completely speechless and immobile for nearly six months.

After recovering, he went on to win an Emmy Award in 1996 as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his appearance on The X-Files.

In the episode, “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”, he played an insurance salesman who can see selected things in the near future, particularly others’ deaths.

Boyle also guest starred in two episodes as Bill Church in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Following a superb turn as Billy Bob Thornton’s unrepentantly racist father in the sobering Oscar-winner Monster’s Ball (2001), the remainder of his films were primarily situated in frivolous comedy fare such as The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002), The Santa Clause 2 (2002), Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004), and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), typically playing cranky curmudgeons.

Boyle married journalist Lorraine Alterman in 1977.

They have two daughters, Lucy and Amy.

 

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