Ray Romano (1957–) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights
Born 1957, in New York, NY; Education: Attended Queens College.
Office—c/o Talk Productions, Warner Bros. Studios, Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522.
Comedian and actor. During early career, worked variously as a gas station attendant, bank clerk, and truck driver. Stand-up comedian; wrote, produced, and played Ray Barone in television series Everybody Loves Raymond, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1996–2005. Actor in films, including El anima de sayula, 1982; (as voice of Manfred the Mammoth) Ice Age (animated), Twentieth Century-Fox, 2002; (as himself) Comedian, 2002; (as himself) Bitter Jester, 2003; Eulogy, 2003; and (as Handy Harrison) Welcome to Mooseport, 2004. Has appeared in numerous television specials (as himself unless otherwise noted), including 15th Annual Young Comedians Show, Home Box Office (HBO), 1992; (as host) Night of about 14 CBS Stars (also known as CBS Fall Preview), Comedy Central, 1996; Catch a Rising Star 50th Anniversary—Give or Take 26 Years, CBS, 1996; HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Ray Romano, HBO, 1996; CBS: The First 50 Years, CBS, 1998; (as Ray Barone) The 51st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1999; America: A Tribute to Heroes, 2001; Diet Coke with Lemon Celebrates 40 Years of Laughter: At the Improv, 2002; The 54th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 2002; and A&E Biography: Peter Boyle, 2003. Guest on episodes of television series, including Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1991; Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1994; Full Frontal Comedy, Showtime, 1995; Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, 1999, 2000; Saturday Night Live, NBC, 1999, 2003; The Martin Short Show, 1999; (as celebrity contestant) Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), 2000; Rove Live, Ten Network, 2001; SportsCenter, 2002; Sesame Street, Public Broadcasting System (PBS); E! Stand up, Sit down Comedy, E! Entertainment Television; An Evening at the Improv, Arts and Entertainment (A&E); Hollywood Squares, syndicated; Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC; MTV Half-Hour Comedy Hour, Music Television (MTV); Showtime Comedy Club Network, Showtime; and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC.
Guest on television-show episodes as Ray Barone, including "Lucas Raymondicus," Cosby, CBS, 1997; "The Reunion Show," The Nanny, CBS, 1998; and "Road Rayge," The King of Queens, CBS, 1999. Voice in episodes of animated series Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, 1995–96.
First prize, K-Rock Miller Light Comedy Riot, 1989; named best new television actor, Entertainment Weekly, 1996; ranked top-ten television show, Entertainment Weekly, and Time, both 1997; favorite male television performer, People's Choice Awards, 1999; outstanding individual achievement in comedy, Television Critics Association, 1999; named favorite actor in a comedy, TV Guide, 1999; Emmy Award for outstanding lead actor in a comedy, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 2000; voted funniest male lead in a television series, American Comedy Awards, 2000; best comedy and best actor awards, Viewers for Quality Television Awards, 2000; named actor of the year in a comedy series, TV Guide, 2001; voted best male television performer, People's Choice Awards, 2004.
Everything and a Kite: A Book of Comic Observations, Bantam (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Phil Rosenthal) Everybody Loves Raymond: Our Family Album, photographs by Tom Caltabiano, foreword by Norman Lear, interviews by Heather Havrilesky, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2004.
(With brothers, Richard and Robert Romano) Raymie, Dickie, and the Bean: Why I Love and Hate My Brothers (for children; includes CD-ROM), Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.
Also author of episodes for television series Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 1996–2005, and Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, Comedy Central.
Everything and a Kite was adapted for audio (unabridged; four CDs), Simon & Schuster, 1998.
In 2003 actor and comedian Ray Romano became the highest-paid star on television when he signed a forty-million-dollar contract with Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) for the eighth season of his top-rated sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, which Romano also wrote and produced. Based on Romano's own family life and his stand-up comedy routines, the show stars Romano as Ray Barone, a sports journalist who lives on Long Island with his wife and children in a house that is across the street from his prying parents and miserable, divorced brother.
Like his character, Romano has a daughter, twin sons, and a brother who is a New York City police officer. Until he was twenty-nine, Romano lived in the basement of his parents' Queens home, sharing space with a water heater that has since been memorialized in his stand-up routines. During those years, Romano worked at a variety of daytime jobs. He quit one as a gas station attendant after the second time he was robbed at gunpoint. He met his wife, Anna, while working as a bank teller (she was also a teller), and he delivered futons. Later in the day, he performed his stand-up comedy routine, sometimes as many as seven times in one night. Romano and Anna lived in Queens until they moved to the Los Angeles area during the last years of the show.
Romano got his big break when he appeared on David Letterman's late-night talk show in 1995. Letterman's production company was impressed with the young comedian and offered him his own show, which first aired in the fall of 1996. At first languishing in its ratings, it later took off when it was moved from its Friday night slot to Monday, where it continued successfully for nine seasons until the final episode aired in 2005.
Romano has also published several books, including Everything and a Kite: A Book of Comic Observations, which is based on his comedy routines. His riffs on the little annoyances of life, especially married life, have been favorably compared to the comedy of such famous stand-up comics as Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, and Bill Cosby. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that Romano "can mine the family/kids/guyhood comedy lode with the best of 'em." In 2005, Romano released Raymie, Dickie, and the Bean: Why I Love and Hate My Brothers, a picture book for children based on his childhood relationship with his own brothers. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the story, set in an amusement park, "funny and warm."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 17, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.
Newsmakers, Issue 4, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Broadcasting & Cable, December 7, 1998, Joe Schlosser, "Why CBS Loves 'Raymond,'" p. 42.
Daily Variety, May 12, 2003, Josef Adalian, "Pay Day for Ray: CBS Loves 'Raymond' to Tune of $40 mil," p. 1.
Entertainment Weekly, December 13, 1996, Bret Watson, "Ray Romano," p. 34; April 11, 1997, Bruce Fretts, "Everybody Loves Raymond," p. 67; November 28, 1997, Bruce Fretts, "Everything's Relative," p. 44; September 15, 2000, Bruce Fretts, "Amore the Merrier: Living la Dolce Vita, Ray Romano and the Everybody Loves Raymond Gang Invade Italy for a Bellissimo Season Opener," p. 34; November 29, 2002, Dalton Ross, "Pass the Romano Cheese: The 'Everybody Loves Raymond' Star Cools off with Some Mini-Mammoth-size Stupid Questions" (interview), p. 84.
Esquire, May, 2003, Scott Raab, "Sing a Song of Ray Romano" (interview), p. 120.
In Style, December, 1998, "The Host with the Most: What's that Old Joke—Guests and Fish Overstay Their Welcome after Three Days?," p. 321; November 1, 2002, Lisa Arbetter, "Romano Empire," p. 478.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2005, review of Raymie, Dickie, and the Bean: Why I Love and Hate My Brothers, p. 294.
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, September 12, 1996, Steve Hall, "Standup Comedian Ray Romano Waiting to See If Everybody Loves 'Raymond,'" p. 912K2655; June 10, 2003, Rebecca Louie, "To His Old Pals, TV's Highest-paid Star Is Just Ray from Queens," p. K1647.
People, February 21, 2000, "Pop Quiz with Ray Romano," p. 21.
Publishers Weekly, October 19, 1998, review of Everything and a Kite: A Book of Comic Observations, p. 62; February 28, 2005, review of Raymie, Dickie, and the Bean, p. 65.
Time, June 14, 1999, "Ray Romano," p. 241.
Hollywood.com, http://www.hollywood.com/ (July 26, 2003), "Ray Romano."
Internet Movie Database, http://us.imdb.com/ (July 8, 2003), "Ray Romano."
Jam! Online, http://jam.canoe.ca/ (April 27, 2005), Samantha Critchell, review of Raymie, Dickie, and the Bean.
Official Web Site of Ray Romano, http://www.rayromano.com (June 14, 2005).
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