With the recent passing of Doris Roberts it seems like a fitting time to look back fondly on the show Everybody Loves Raymond, the popular CBS sitcom that ran from 1996 to 2005. Doris played Marie Barone, mother to Ray Romano’s Raymond, and won four Emmy awards in the role. The show stayed on the air for nine years before heading into syndication. Here are some things you never knew about the fan-favorite show.
1. The Show Evolved From Stand-up
The concept for Everybody Loves Raymond first came about when comedian Ray Romano did a stand-up set on the Late Show With David Letterman. The producer of the Letterman show was the one who thought his stand-up material should be turned into a TV show. Ray has said: “I was doing stand-up for about 12 years. And then I did a David Letterman spot. And a week later, the Letterman producer, Rob Burnett, called me and said we’re interested in trying to develop a show just based on what they saw, my stand-up, which was talking about my family. And we said fine.”
2. Ray Romano Was Once the Highest Paid Actor on TV
By the final season of Everybody Loves Raymond Ray was earning $1.88 million per episode, which was even more than Kelsey Grammer was making on Frasier (although Kelsey was pretty close behind at $1.77 million per episode).
3. The Title of the Show Was Only Semi-intentional
Romano explained, “It invites hatred. It came about from a sarcastic comment my brother made, who is a police officer. And he said, ‘look what I do for a living, and look at Raymond, yeah, everybody loves Raymond.’ So we used it as a working title. And it just grew on CBS, and we couldn’t get rid of it.”
4. Patricia Heaton Was Not the First Choice to Play Debra
Once a show has been on the air and doing well it’s hard to imagine any other actors in the parts, but Patricia Heaton was not the first choice to play Ray’s wife. The producers wanted actress Jane Sibbett, who had played Ross’ wife Carol on Friends. Patricia has show creator Philip Rosenthal to thank for her ultimate casting. “They were suggesting someone to play Raymond’s wife that I just couldn’t live with, and so I was quitting over that. I don’t know if I called their bluff or whatever, but I wasn’t trying to — and I wasn’t bluffing. But sometimes, if you say that you’re going to actually quit, it’s the strongest move you can make in the situation.”
5. And Ray Says It’s Because She Kissed Him
Ray has said that he felt the most comfortable acting with Patricia because she was one actor that readily kissed him on the mouth – which, of course, acting as husband and wife requires.
6. The Kids on the Show Were Actually Related
There’s a reason why the actors who played Ray’s children on the show looked like real siblings…they were! Ally and her twin brothers Michael and Geoffrey are siblings in real life too. Tragically, actor Sawyer Sweeten (one of the twins) committed suicide last year.
7. The Finale Got Delayed Over a Sickness
The finale of the show had to be delayed because Patricia Heaton was sick and lost her voice. But they didn’t know this until the day of the shoot, so they literally kept pushing back filming hours at a time. Theyended up having to send everyone home to come back the next week, including the live audience that had been there to watch.
8. Ray’s Brother Was Supposed To Be Short
The role for Ray’s brother was written as a short guy (like his real-life brother is), but Brad Garrett won the role at the height of 6’8″. He has said he only got in the door of the casting room because his management pushed hard based on the fact that he just done a guest spot on Seinfeld. Ray is actually a few years older than Brad, even though Brad plays his older brother.
9. Garrett Didn’t Think Ray Was the Guy for the Job
When Garrett first met Ray he thought the show was destined to fail. “I met Raymond and promptly felt that we were doomed. He looked like the teenager you would see at Whole Foods spraying down the produce…I wanted to flee like a hooker in church.”
10. Doris Roberts Was 70 When the Show Premiered
Doris Roberts had been acting for years on both Broadway and TV, and she was already a one-time Emmy winner and 70 years old when Everybody Loves Raymond premiered. Supposedly she and Garrett could hold their liquor the best out of all the cast, although Garrett got sober after the first season.
11. Peter Boyle Was Grumpy for his Audition
Peter Boyle successfully played the very grumpy character of Frank Barone, and he used some of his real life grumpiness to land himself the part. Peter was having a hard time finding the location of the audition and was late. He rushed in stressed and agitated about missing his audition. That crankiness shone through and helped him land the part.
12. Peter Repeated his Speech From Taxi
Peter was in the film Taxi, and at one point in Everybody Loves Raymond he repeats the speech “The Only Man That Matters” that he first did in that movie. It was just a fun throwback in a Halloween episode for anyone who was a Taxi fan.
13. There Are Plenty of Mistakes to Catch
With many TV shows that have a ton of episodes, there are going to be continuity mistakes here and there, and lots of websites are dedicated to documenting them if you’re interested. For example, on the final episode there’s a scene where everyone is talking around the kitchen table, and during the improv at one point Frank says “Give me my hammer!” but isn’t directing the statement at anyone.
14. A Lot of the Writing Was Based off Real Life Stuff
Besides the fact that the show was based on Ray’s life, there was other real life stuff in there as well. The show’s creator Phil Rosenthal was married to Monica Horan who played Robert’s girlfriend and eventually wife. She says things that she said to him made it into the show all the time. Phil has said: “Ninety percent of everything you hear on the show has been said to me or Ray Romano or one of the writers.”
15. Doris Roberts Thought She Was Too Busy to Audition
Doris had been performing in a play and had limited time to make the Marie audition. She ended up making it, and beat out 100 other women for the pivotal role.
16. The Show Was Popular All Around the World
It seems family antics are universally funny, and this show was a hit the world over. Local language adaptations were produced in many countries including the Netherlands (Everybody Is Crazy About Jack), the Czech Republic (Everybody Loves Rudy), Israel (You Can’t Choose Your Family) and Russia (The Voronins), where it was the number one comedy.
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