Peter Boyle, 71, a prolific film and television actor who was a working-class bigot in "Joe," the tap-dancing monster in Mel Brooks's horror spoof "Young Frankenstein" and the crotchety father in the long-running sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," died Dec. 12 at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He had multiple myeloma and heart disease.
After abandoning an early career as a monk, Mr. Boyle became a member of the Second City improvisational acting troupe in Chicago. His bald pate, rubbery face and hulking physique all but guaranteed his career as a character actor.
He managed to dazzle critics in two extraordinarily different early roles: as the hippy-hating factory worker in John G. Avildsen's "Joe" (1970) and the zipper-necked, lovable monster in "Young Frankenstein" (1974).
In one memorable scene, the monster and his creator, played by Gene Wilder, take the stage at a medical conference in Bucharest to demonstrate the creature's abilities. Donning white tie and tails and sporting canes, they perform "Puttin' on the Ritz." Mr. Boyle, a cadaver brought to life, grunts the classic Irving Berlin song.
Mr. Boyle told a reporter 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."
Mr. Boyle went on to a busy career in film and television. As alcoholic Sen. Joseph McCarthy in "Tail Gunner Joe" (1977), he received the first of 10 Emmy nominations. He won an Emmy in 1996 for his guest role on the series "The X Files," playing a psychic who predicts death.
"Everybody Loves Raymond," which aired on CBS from 1996 to 2005, starred the comedian Ray Romano, but Mr. Boyle had a central role and was nominated seven times for an Emmy as best supporting actor in a comedy series.
Mr. Boyle played Frank Barone, a Korean War veteran and beer-swilling sexist fond of obnoxious commentary and oblivious to the problems of others. He belittles his sons as "ladies" -- one of whom was played by Romano -- and is dismissive of his wife, Marie, played by Doris Roberts.
When she tells Frank that she is not a trophy wife, he replies: "You're a trophy wife? What contest in hell did I win?"
Peter Lawrence Boyle was born Oct. 18, 1935, in Philadelphia, where his father, Francis "Pete" Boyle, had a late-afternoon TV show called "Chuckwagon Pete."
After high school, he spent three years as a monk in the Christian Brothers monastery while attending what is now La Salle University in Philadelphia. A fellow monk was quoted in Entertainment Weekly as saying Mr. Boyle's piety was often in conflict with his interest in Beat literature and jazz.
Mr. Boyle went to New York after his graduation in 1957 to be an actor. "Theater comes from the Mass; that's how it started," he said.
He became a postal clerk and maitre d' while studying acting with Uta Hagen and then was Murray the cop in a touring company of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple." He left the play in Chicago and tried a career in stand-up comedy. While he was at Second City, writer-comedian Elaine May became a mentor, and that led to better acting jobs.
Mr. Boyle campaigned for Democratic antiwar presidential candidates but was routinely cast on-screen as a right-winger. He was a rifle range owner in "Medium Cool" (1969), Haskell Wexler's pseudo-documentary set during the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention, and then came "Joe."
As Joe Curran, a hate-spewing bar slob, Mr. Boyle allies with a homicidal businessman to rescue the rich man's daughter from her hippy friends. The story ends in a violent spree that many critics found contrived, but the low-budget production became a surprise hit and won much praise for Mr. Boyle.
Film critic Gary Arnold, writing in The Washington Post, called him "as irresistibly uncouth as the early Brando."
Mr. Boyle was disturbed that the character of Joe was cheered by audiences. He began refusing other violent parts, notably "Popeye" Doyle in "The French Connection," a police drama that transformed Gene Hackman into a major star.
During the next few years, Mr. Boyle was the bearded campaign manager in Michael Ritchie's "The Candidate" opposite Robert Redford; a bar owner and police informant in "The Friends of Eddie Coyle"; gangster Joey Gallo in "Crazy Joe"; and a cabbie-philosopher named Wizard in Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" (1976).
Mr. Boyle was a union leader in "F.I.S.T."; part of an ensemble of thieves in "The Brink's Job"; a loony sidekick to writer Hunter S. Thompson (played by Bill Murray) in "Where the Buffalo Roam"; and a police officer in "Turk 182!" He was also effective in smaller parts, from such comic bits as Sandra Bullock's prospective father-in-law in "While You Were Sleeping" (1995) to Billy Bob Thornton's racist father in "Monster's Ball" (2001).
On television, he played stockade sergeant Fatso Judson in an NBC miniseries version of "From Here to Eternity" in 1979; antiwar activist David Dellinger in the 1987 HBO production "Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8"; and Adm. John M. Poindexter, a presidential aide, in CBS's "Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North" in 1989.
He was nominated for an Emmy in 1989 as guest actor in a drama series as the father of a talk show host on the NBC drama "Midnight Caller."
On the set of "Young Frankenstein," he met Loraine Alterman, a reporter with Rolling Stone magazine who came to interview Mel Brooks. Mr. Boyle asked her out while he was still in monster makeup; she accepted, and they were married in 1977. Because of Alterman's friendship with Yoko Ono, musician John Lennon was best man at the wedding.
"We were both seekers after a truth, looking for a quick way to enlightenment," Mr. Boyle once said of Lennon.
Besides Mr. Boyle's wife, survivors include their two daughters.