13 December 2006

Farewell, Peter Boyle (1935-2006)

Peter Boyle, one of our greatest character actors (who first aspired to become a Christian monk!), passed away last night in New York. He'll be forever known to generations of sitcom viewers as the erzatz father of Ray Romano, but film buffs will remember him for his dramatic work in John Avildsen's "Joe" (you could buy an LP in the early 70s which contained Boyle's uber-conservative rants set to music), Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" (he was The Wizard, after all), and let's show a bit of love for Peter Hyam's underappreciated Introvision-era "High Noon" in space: "Outland" (where Boyle was the heavy opposite Connery's interplanetary marshall).

In comedies, he was never less than hilarious: remember his turn as the showtunes' loving guru in "Honeymoon In Vegas"? Or as Carl Lazlo opposite Bill Murray's Hunter S. Thomson in "Where The Buffalo Roam"? Count me as one of the few who caught the one-time airing of the TV pilot "Poochinski"--a "Turner And Hooch" rip-off in which Boyle's cop dies in the line of duty and comes back in the form of a puppet pit bull terrier, opposite George Newbern.

But this--this (the photo above)--is how I will remember him...his crowning achievement less than a decade into his acting career....man, Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" still kills me every time....