The gloriously dysfunctional Barone family have been off our screens for more than ten years now, but we all still miss them. However, one good thing has come out of Everybody Loves Raymond fading away: that is, a steady stream of revealing interviews and tell-all books from cast members that let us know what things were really like behind the scenes of the hit show. Some of them are rather surprising – so read on to find out who hated the show’s title, what created the on-set laughs and if the actors will ever get together for that long-awaited reunion….
20. The show came about because of Ray Romano’s stand-up
Ray Romano got the sort of break most comics could only ever dream of. And that came after 12 years of doing stand-up, when he did a set about his family on The Late Show with David Letterman. The producers of Letterman ended up loving that so much that they called Romano and suggested they try to turn his jokes into a full-blown sitcom.
19. At first, Brad Garrett wasn’t a fan of Ray Romano
When Brad Garrett released a tell-all book in 2015, fans soon realized that it contained many juicy tidbits about the Raymond cast. These included the fact that Garrett, who played Raymond’s sibling Robert in the show, hadn’t always trusted Ray Romano or his acting abilities. “I met Raymond and promptly felt that we were doomed,” he wrote. He came around eventually, though.
18. Patricia Heaton and Peter Boyle would argue politics on set
Patricia Heaton and Peter Boyle came from two very opposite ends of the political spectrum: the actress who played Raymond’s wife was a conservative, while the man who played her on-screen father-in-law was a liberal. They would often bicker about their views, then, causing mild discomfort for some of the other actors. But they still had a strong affection for each other, with Heaton attending Boyle’s 2006 funeral.
17. Ray Romano didn’t like the show’s title
The title of the show came about after a sardonic remark from Romano’s real brother, commenting on everyone’s seeming affection for his sibling. But while CBS loved the name, Romano himself hated it. “I would have been happy with Everybody Doesn’t Mind Raymond or Everybody Could Take or Leave Raymond,” he told the Deseret News in 1996.
16. Peter Boyle’s audition started off badly
When the day came for Peter Boyle’s audition, everything went wrong for him. To start with, he wasn’t allowed in at the gate, then he couldn’t find a parking space, and then he couldn’t find the room the auditions were being held in. By the time he arrived he was angry and stressed – perfect, of course, for the role of Raymond’s father Frank. He got the job.
15. There was nearly a spin-off show about Robert
Believe it or not, the other Barone brother nearly got his own show. Everybody Loves Raymond showrunner Philip Rosenthal pitched an idea to CBS about Robert, played by Brad Garrett, moving to Pennsylvania and becoming a gym teacher. CBS, however, didn’t put up a good enough offer for the show to actually go ahead.
14. The show made Ray Romano the highest-paid actor on TV
In May 2003 Ray Romano signed a deal with the Everybody Loves Raymond producers that netted him a cool $50 million – roughly $1.7 million per episode – for the show’s eighth season. That was more – although admittedly not much more – than anybody on the equally popular Frasier or Friends was getting.
13. Peter Boyle had a flatulence problem, apparently
Peter Boyle was beloved by all of his co-stars – but there was one aspect of him that they didn’t like at all. He would constantly fart on the set, apparently. “He gave farts a bad name,” Brad Garrett wrote in his book. “Just like global warming and homely strippers, it was something we all had to learn to live with.”
12. Maggie Wheeler was considered to play Debra
Everybody Loves Raymond fans know Maggie Wheeler as the Barones’ friend Linda; turns out, though, that she could have landed another role entirely. Indeed, Wheeler auditioned to play Ray’s wife Debra and was even the preferred choice for a while. Reportedly, however, CBS thought that she was “too ethnic” for that particular part.
11. The show was nominated for 69 Emmy awards
Appropriately, everybody loved Raymond when it came to awards season. The show was nominated for no less than 69 Emmys, and it won 15 of them. Sure, that’s small fry compared to some other shows – Game of Thrones, for example, has had 106 nominations and 35 wins – but it’s still very impressive nonetheless.
10. Patricia Heaton’s real father was name-checked in one episode
In a slightly odd case of art imitating life, Patricia Heaton’s father was a sportswriter just like Ray. His name was Chuck Heaton and he worked for 50 years at The Cleveland Plain Dealer. And his fame among sportswriters was such that Debra could mention him in an episode as a potential rival to her husband.
9. Doris Roberts was too busy to audition
When Doris Roberts was originally asked to audition for the role of Raymond’s mom Marie, she wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about it. “I was directing a play and I didn’t have any time,” she said to CNN in 2002. But the producers insisted and sent her in regardless. And while more than 100 women read for the part, Roberts was the one who got it.
8. The twins originally had different names
In the pilot episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, the twin boys played by Sawyer and Sullivan Sweeten were called Matthew and Gregory – after Romano’s real sons. But once the series entered proper production, Romano apparently got uneasy about naming so many characters after real family members, so he subsequently changed the pair’s monikers to Michael and Jeffrey.
7. Heaton inadvertently delayed the taping of the show’s finale
Patricia Heaton was very upset about Everybody Loves Raymond coming to an end. She was so upset, in fact, that she cried all the way through rehearsals – and lost her voice. As a result, the taping of the finale – in front of a live audience – had to be delayed for a whole week.
6. There have been many foreign versions of the show
Everybody Loves Raymond proved to be such a winning sitcom concept that everybody wanted in. Versions of the show have been made in India, Britain, Poland, Egypt and plenty of other places; Philip Rosenthal even made a documentary, Exporting Raymond, about his efforts to export the show to Russia.
5. Patricia Heaton’s pregnancies were concealed for the show
What do the producers of a hit sitcom do when their leading lady gets pregnant? The makers of Everybody Loves Raymond went the traditional route and just covered Patricia Heaton up with conveniently placed props or huge shirts. They had to go this route two times, in fact, as she actually got pregnant twice while she was starring in the show.
4. Peter Boyle entertained the cast’s children
Peter Boyle had previously played a very different Frank: Frankenstein’s monster! And it wasn’t a role he wanted to leave behind, either. The one-time star of the Mel Brooks comedy Young Frankenstein would happily chase Romano and Heaton’s children around the Raymond set while impersonating the famous monster.
3. People would send the cast unusual gifts
Ray Romano revealed an odd secret while on Larry King Live in 2005: a lot of people seemed to like sending the cast pictures of their own family that happened to look like the characters on the show. “Some of it was scary,” Romano said. “I was someone’s Aunt Selma at one point,” Brad Garrett cut in.
2. The show stopped for a good reason
When Philip Rosenthal was asked in a 2011 The AV Club interview as to why Raymond ended, he had an honest answer: “We ran out of ideas.” He went on to say that he wanted the show to end on a high, adding, “There was a level we felt that we did not go below. And we wanted to leave before we hit that level.”
1. There probably won’t ever be a cast reunion
Unfortunately for the show’s many fans, Brad Garrett told Fox News in 2015 that there would probably never be more Raymond. “Once Peter [Boyle] passed, Ray said that there would never be a reunion and I totally agree with that.” And since Doris Roberts and Sawyer Sweeten have also since died, any reunion would ultimately be bittersweet.