Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Peter Boyle, R.I.P.

When a much-loved actor passes away, it’s funny the first thing you think of. Sometimes it’s not the obvious high points, which in Peter Boyle’s career are numerous. His long run on Everybody Loves Raymond, his legendary performances in Young Frankenstein and Joe.

Sometimes it’s not even your personal favorites. Like Boyle’s work as the crafty campaign manager in The Candidate. Or the double-dealing bartender in The Friends of Eddie Coyle, the kind of guy who’d feel right at home in The Departed. Or his Chief Orman in Honeymoon in Vegas. (To this day, whenever I hear the score from South Pacific, I mime putting a phone to my ear at the line “Bali H’ai will call you” in tribute to Boyle.) Or his dual turns as cabbies in The Shadow and Taxi Driver. Or his Emmy-winning appearance as morose psychic Clyde Bruckman on The X-Files, delivering what may be my favorite line from the show to Agent Mulder: “You know, there are worse ways to go, but I can’t think of a more undignified one than autoerotic asphyxiation.”

No, sometimes what occurs to you is an offbeat tidbit that seems to capture an individual’s personality. And in Boyle’s case, it’s from a 2003 New York Times article on the madness of owning a car in Manhattan.

“I consider using my car unnecessarily as one of the great joys of my life,” said Peter Boyle, the actor ... Mr. Boyle starts most days with a stroll to the bank for a roll of quarters (he considers it unsportsmanlike to use a garage when he is out and about). He takes his Mercedes station wagon everywhere, even to Elaine’s, which is only a block or two away from his home. “Being dedicated to your car here is a test of patience and cunning,” he said. “And there’s better radio reception than in the house.”

That says it all, really. He will be missed.

Miscellaneous: Link

Wired magazine asked notable SF, fantasy and horror writers to come up with six word short stories as Ernest Hemingway did. This feature proves once again that Alan Moore is a genius. Read the results in the photo versions in the lower right corner to experience the full effect of the graphics.