“Everybody Loves Raymond” followed the Barone family and provided us with quality entertainment. It was always amusing with this group of lively characters. You either desired to be part of this family or were relieved that you weren’t. There was an apparent lack of personal space in the Barone house.
Ray Romano led a star-studded cast, namely Doris Roberts, Patricia Heaton, Peter Boyle, and Brad Garrett. Fans were devastated when the show ended, but behind the scenes wasn’t as light-hearted as what was seen on TV. Here are some juicy tidbits that you didn’t see in the credits.
While the sitcom was fictional, there are hints at real life in each episode. Philip Rosenthal, the show’s creator, revealed that a majority of episode content for “Everybody Loves Raymond” came from actual events that involved the staff or crew.
Monica Horan starred in the role of Amy, Ray’s brother Robert’s girlfriend (and eventual wife). But, in real life, Monica was Philip Rosenthal’s wife. Several of the arguments that took place between the characters of Amy and Robert were based on fights that Monica and Phil had in their actual relationship.
Rosenthal instructed his actors and writers to get in fights with their spouses at home and then come back to work and tell them what happened. This strategy was meant to fuel new ideas for the show and develop more episodes. But it wasn’t a sustainable system; marriages wouldn’t have survived.
After nine seasons, the creative teams were running out of fresh ideas. The choice was made to finish the show on a high note. As heartbreaking as it was to see the series come to an end in 2005, nobody can claim that it ever got dull or stale.
Ray Romano was a stand-up comedian before he got the prominent role of Raymond in “Everybody Loves Raymond.” But this wasn’t making him a lot of money, so he had to take a second job working as a futon delivery man to pay his bills.
Ray did stand up for twelve years before getting invited to do a set on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” This was Ray’s big break, and he dazzled Letterman’s company so much that they contacted him afterward, saying that they wanted him for a TV show.
Peter Boyle – Ray and Robert’s dad Frank on the show – found out he had cancer in 2002. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, but he chose not to tell everyone on set. Instead, he decided to only share the news with his family and a few select cast members.
He told his on-screen wife, Doris Roberts, and sought her advice if he should update everyone. She advised him against it, saying that “They will treat you like a dying man, and you don’t need that.” Boyle quietly continued filming the show, sadly passing away at age 71 in 2006.
Much of the show’s content was already based on real life. Ray’s first name, disagreements, and life stories were weaved into the show’s writing. This added depth to the family to make them more real to viewers. But there was one line that Ray wasn’t willing to cross.
In the first episode, the twins were named Gregory and Matthew and played by the Ferreira triplets. These were the names of Ray’s actual twin sons, so he requested a name adjustment. We saw Geoffrey and Michael starting in the second episode, and they were played by Sawyer and Sullivan Sweeten.
During the first season of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Brad Garrett was described himself as a functioning alcoholic. He said that he would drink alcohol daily and used it as a type of defense mechanism for things out of control in his life.
Garrett has been transparent about his life struggles in his book called “When the Balls Drop.” He says that he realized that he was going to die from alcohol consumption if he didn’t get it under control. So, in 1997, just before the show’s first season finale, Garrett sought professional help to stop drinking.
As this was Ray Romano’s first starring role in Hollywood, it would be reasonable that there were those who doubted his acting abilities. And in Garrett’s book, he reveals some of his own doubts he had about his co-star.
Garrett reveals that he was nervous about working with Ray, worried that he wouldn’t be able to hold his own in a show. There was the possibility that Ray Romano would sink the show, along with the entire cast. Thankfully, Garrett’s concerns were premature, and the show turned out to be a huge hit.
While the show’s comedy content came from domestic life and playful arguments, some actual arguments were happening when the cameras stopped recording. Many of these were between Patricia Heaton and Peter Boyle, who had drastically different political views.
Boyle was a liberal, while Heaton was much more conservative. This led to intense debates between the two and often made everyone else on set pretty uncomfortable. Despite all that, there remained a familial love on set, and everyone expressed their adoration for Boyle after his passing.
While Ray Romano was the show’s titular character, there wouldn’t have been a show without the rest of the family. So, when Brad Garrett heard about the gigantic wage gap between Ray and the rest of the cast, it’s easy to understand why it caused problems.
Romano was earning over $1.8 million per episode while everybody else was making about $160,000. To try to fix this and make it fairer, Garrett organized a cast walkout in 2003. This persisted for two weeks until the cast were all guaranteed syndication royalties, totaling to an additional $20 million each.
According to Romano, the show’s title originated from a sassy comment that Ray’s actual cop brother made about how “everybody loves Raymond.” And while the remark was initially the name of the show, the intent was to switch it with a better title.
But after being included in the pilot, the name stuck and was liked by viewers. Romano was nervous about critics, but the show’s title didn’t really draw any insulting comments, instead becoming a common phrase in numerous ’90s households.
Chuck Heaton is a well-known sportswriter, having worked with the Cleveland Plain Dealer for over 50 years. He also happens to be Patricia Heaton’s (Debra on “Everybody Loves Raymond”) father. And similarly, Raymond was also a sportswriter on the show.
Because of this coincidence, it wasn’t hard for the show’s writers to sneakily mention Patricia’s actual dad while she was speaking to her TV husband. In one episode, Debra remarks on how Raymond’s biggest competitor is none other than Chuck Heaton.
Using real-life influence worked for most of the show’s run; there were a couple of things that everyone didn’t enjoy. For example, Ray’s actual brother, Rich, was a police officer while the show was on the air. Ray’s TV brother, Robert, was also a cop, though not a great one
As a result, Rich would get teased by other cops for things that occurred on the show. Ray once shared that his brother, before retiring, had endured lots of jokes and teasing from fellow officers as a result of the series because they thought it was similar to a documentary.
Patricia Heaton is a working actress and busy mother, so it’s understandable if she hired an assistant to keep things running smoothly. However, it appears that she wasn’t the best boss. In 2009, Jennifer Lee, her former assistant, sued Heaton for making her work overtime without pay and owed her over $7,000.
Lee highlighted in her case that: “If the rich and famous wish to employ individuals to cater to their every need, they must also refrain from violating California’s wage and hour laws.” Heaton and her legal team had next to nothing to say about the case.
Robert was the charming, odd brother of Raymond. And while every family member had something that we loved about them, Robert held a special place in so many fans’ hearts. The creators loved him too because they developed the idea of a spin-off after “Everybody Love Raymond” ended.
The spin-off was going to follow Robert as he moved to Philadelphia and became a gym teacher. Phil Rosenthal suggested the concept to CBS, but unfortunately, a deal didn’t come to fruition. We would’ve definitely tuned in for that show!
Viewers and other cast members adored the twins that played Raymond’s sons on the show. We watched them grow up on camera – from toddlers to young boys. But tragically, a decade after the show ended, one of the Sweeten twins committed suicide.
According to loved ones, Sawyer Sweeten never had any overt signs of depression and was considered an upbeat, happy guy. During his last week, there was a dramatic shift, too quick for any intervention. Only two weeks before his turning 20, Sawyer passed away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
One of the toughest parts of being an actress is hiding a pregnancy while filming a project. Patricia Heaton’s character already had three children and was not looking to have more kids. In her off-screen life, Heaton went through two pregnancies while filming “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
There wasn’t a way to incorporate the pregnancies into the script, so Heaton had to attempt to hide them instead. The typical tricks were used, big props in front of Heaton, loose clothing, specific angles, etc. And they worked so well few people knew Heaton was pregnant.
When Peter Boyle tried out for the role of the grumpy dad, Frank Barone, he needed to convey a certain vibe of a “salty old man.” Luckily, the start of his day allowed for the exact type of mood to help him excel through his audition.
Peter’s day included no parking spots, going into the wrong building, and fighting to get into the studio – all before his audition. That mood, put together with his incredible acting skills, helped Boyle get the role that we all grew to know him for.
Maggie Wheeler played the Barone family’s friend Lind on the show. But that wasn’t the part that she initially tried out for. She went into the auditions, hoping for the role of Debra, Raymond’s wife. And she nearly landed the part.
However, CBS executives thought Wheeler was too “ethnic” for the part of Debra and instead gave that role to Patricia Heaton. They still wanted Wheeler for the show, though, and offered her a smaller role – which she ended up taking.
Doris Roberts had a long career in both theater and television. Show producers reached out to her about the role of Raymond and Robert’s mom Marie. She replied, saying that she was busy directing a play and couldn’t muster the energy to take on another project.
But producers eventually convinced her to audition, and despite her packed schedule, she beat hundreds of other actresses for the role. Nowadays, we couldn’t imagine anybody else as the brilliant Marie that kept everyone in line on “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
With any TV series, the end is inevitable, but when you’ve been on a show for nearly a decade, it can be highly emotional to end it. Patricia Heaton found the series’ end incredibly tough, crying through most of the finale rehearsals.
Heaton ended up losing her voice from all of her crying about the show coming to an end. This meant she was unable to play her part, and because the final episode was supposed to be filmed in front of a live audience, it had to be pushed back until Heaton regained her voice.
The sitcom was very loosely inspired by the actual life of Ray Romano. He was the main character, Raymond Barone, a sportswriter raising three children with his wife, Debra. His parents and policeman brother Robert lived right across the street from his house.
While the show was running, Ray’s fame rose to become a household name. His performance in the series won him an Emmy in 2002. And he made guest appearances in character, as Ray, on other sitcoms like “The Cosby Show,” “The Nanny,” “The King of Queens,” and “Becker.”
Since the series ended, Romano has appeared in a number of other TV programs and even did voice acting for Manny, the lovable mammoth from the animated classic “Ice Age” movie franchise. He also had an arc on the show “Parenthood” for three years.
Since 2017, Romano has played Rick in the show “Get Shorty.” He also utilized his vast skillset to develop and star in the show “Men of a Certain Age.” Other parts that Romano has had include roles in the movies “The Big Sick” and the crime film “The Irishman” on Netflix.
Debra, Raymond’s wife, living so close to her in-laws, who were constantly in her house. Debra is the mother of three, stressed out, and underappreciated – standard for almost any ’90s sitcom spouse. And Patricia Heaton perfectly portrayed this character.
Heaton received several award nominations for the role of Debra and Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series awards in both 2000 and 2001. Fun fact, despite only winning twice, she was nominated for that exact award every year from 1999 to 2005.
When “Everybody Love Raymond” ended, Patricia Heaton was especially sad. But she quickly found another TV family to love and dote over. Heaton got the role of Frankie, mother of the Heck family on “The Middle.”
The actress played her new part from 2009 until the show finished in 2018. Since that finale, she’s written a book and worked with charities that have meant a lot to her. Heaton was most recently on the show “Carol’s Second Act” between 2019 and 2020.
Brad Garrett starred as Robert Barone, Raymond’s loveable older brother. The character was kind of loosely based on Ray’s actual cop brother, but Garrett made sure to put his own spin on Robert.
Boy, did Robert take his time getting his life together. The show began with Robert living with his parents. He was really struggling with dating and love. But over the years, Amy came into his life, and Robert finally built the life and received the love he deserved.
The end of “Everybody Loves Raymond” was not the end of Brad Garrett’s television success. He got an Emmy nomination for his part in the TV series “Gleason.” And then he was on our screens again in the sitcom “Til Death.” Garrett also did some voice acting in some popular animated films.
These animated favorites included “Finding Nemo,” “Tangled,” and “Ratatouille.” In his personal life, Garrett had similar relationship troubles like Robert. His first marriage didn’t work out and ended in divorce. But he didn’t give up and eventually got engaged to his girlfriend, IsaBeall Quella.
We just can’t imagine the Barone family without the invasive, controlling, and bossy mother, Marie. She lived across the street from Raymond and his family and kept all of her boys in line. And Doris Roberts played the character to perfection.
There were numerous moments when Doris completely stole the show with her quick comebacks and unfiltered remarks. She had zero boundaries when it came to her kids, something Debra had to get used to living with in the show.
Roberts had an absolutely incredible career, spanning over 60 years. She spent the majority of her adult life starring in films and TV shows, making a notable name for herself. During her career, Roberts was awarded a Screen Actors Guild award and five Emmys.
After the series came to an end, Roberts went on to star in a couple more films and TV series, like “Mrs. Miracle” and “Madea’s Witness Protection.” Sadly, Doris passed away in April of 2016, at the age of 90.
The Barone parents consisted of Marie and Frank. This snarky Army veteran seemed hard-headed, but the sitcom would have been lost without him. He constantly tested his wife’s patience, claiming he only married her for her cooking skills, but we’re positive there was actual love there.
Frank and Marie had a unique type of marriage – one you’d expect from a pair who had been together for so many years. In one episode, Marie mentioned that throughout 46 years of marriage, they had seen highs and lows. Frank, in the most Frank way, asked when there were highlights.
Boyle was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2002. He continued acting and didn’t let his cancer affect his career. But after the series ended in 2005, Boyle didn’t have much time left.
The actor had a role in the movie “All Roads Lead Home,” but this only made it to theaters in 2008, after he had already passed away. Peter Boyle died in 2006 from heart disease and cancer. He was 71 years old, and the world mourned a wonderful actor.
The sole granddaughter, only niece, and eldest child in the family, Ally Barone, was also named after one of Romano’s real-life kids -his daughter Ally. In the sitcom, Ally is a kind young girl but can also be hard-headed like her grandpa.
The series sees Ally go from child to early teenager. She grows up gracefully both on-screen and in real life. Madylin Sweeten, the actress who played Ally, is both the on-screen and actual sister of the twin brothers who played Debra and Raymond’s sons.
After the series came to an end, Madylin went on and continued her acting career. She had roles in TV shows like “Lucifer” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” She also did some voice acting in the animated movie “Toy Story 2.” But Madylin seems most passionate about being on stage.
She’s been involved with a ton of theater work and even met her husband while doing a production. Madylin is now happily married, living a very complete and fulfilling life – beginning her 30s, she looks ready to embrace a brand-new chapter.
The Barone brothers were played by the Sullivan twins, who were also actually brothers of Madylin Sweeten (Ally Barone) in real life. Sullivan filled the role of Michael Barone, twin brother of (his actual twin) Geoffrey.
The boys make the ideal pair added to the Barone family, although it’s pretty tough to tell them apart. Their adventures on the show are essentially always together, and many characters needed to ask the twins to raise their hands to tell them apart.
Sullivan doesn’t seem to have any social media accounts, and not much is known about what he’s been doing since starring on the show. He does appear on his sister’s social media here and again, but besides those cameos, he pretty much keeps to himself.
There were a number of minor parts that Sullivan played with his brother after “Everybody Loves Raymond,” but once the boys became preteens, they weren’t seen in the public eye as much after the tragic death of his twin brother in 2015.
Opposite his real-life twin Sullivan as Michael, Sawyer Sweeten starred as Geoffrey. The boys, as we mentioned, were painfully identical. They spent the entirety of the show’s run, nine years, keeping the cast and fans entertained in ways only identical twins can.
While the children didn’t appear in every one of the episodes, Sawyer was a large part of the show’s dynamic, along with his brother. It’s wonderful to see the twins grow from tykes into 10-year-olds as the show went on.
Sawyer Sweeten’s life tragically ended when he was two weeks shy of 20 years old. The young actor’s family didn’t see any notable signs that he was depressed and were intensely shocked when he committed suicide. Both his real-life and TV families were devasted when he died.
Four years after Sawyer’s death, his siblings opened a theater in his name. There isn’t a lot of information regarding why Sawyer felt the need to take his own life so early, but we can confidently say that those who were close to him took it extremely hard.
Amy was Debra’s best friend on the show and swept in to steal Robert’s heart. Their relationship had its ups and downs, but eventually, the couple got married and found an unconventional but surprisingly solid happily ending.
Robert and Amy’s families didn’t get along, and after their wedding, the newlyweds had to move in with Robert’s parents. Things weren’t always easy – but we did watch them move into their own place before the show ended, and Amy was clearly meant for Robert.
Horan is also married to the creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Phil Rosenthal (remember, she’s the other part of several of the real-life fights that offered inspiration for the scripts). They’ve been married since 1990 and have two kids.
Since the show finished, Horan hasn’t been heavily involved in acting. But she did star in several episodes of series including “Enlightened,” “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “The Middle” (with former co-star Patricia Heaton), and “Better Things.”