Phil Rosenthal wanted to be an actor. He and several friends in New York wrote a show called “Tony and Tina’s Wedding”, in which he acted, and an agent saw his work and told him to come to LA to pursue acting. Rosenthal did, and instead wound up meeting up with high school friend Alan Kirschenbaum, writing a screenplay, and falling in love with writing.
After several years as a staff writer with writing partner Oliver Goldstick on A Family for Joe, Baby Talk, Down the Shore, and Coach, Rosenthal branched out on his own and created the popular sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. In the following clip, he shares how he came up with the show’s title:
Everybody Loves Raymond ran for nine years on CBS, and lives on in syndication. Below Rosenthal describes his vision for what the series finale would be:
To learn more about Phil Rosenthal, and to see his tips for sitcom writing, watch his full interview here.
With her success on Everybody Loves Raymond and now The Middle, Patricia Heaton is a household name. But that wasn’t always so. Heaton spent years as a struggling actress in New York and Los Angeles, doing bit parts and odd jobs to make a living. Her first appearance on a television show was on 1989’s Alien Nation; her first recurring role was on the critically acclaimed dramedy, thirtysomething, and her first starring role was on the short-lived 1992-3 series, Room For Two, opposite Linda Lavin. Several more years passed before she won the role of “Debra Barone” on Everybody Loves Raymond.
In her Archive Interview, Heaton describes her audition for Everybody Loves Raymond:
Patricia Heaton was interviewed for nearly two hours in Burbank, CA. Heaton talks of growing up a “daydreamer” in Cleveland and enjoying the attention she got as the daughter of Chuck Heaton, a well-known local sportswriter. She describes her early years as a struggling actress in New York City and Los Angeles, picking up small roles in commercials and television series. She discusses her recurring role in the hit dramedy series thirtysomething and her co-starring roles in the short-lived series Room for Two (opposite Linda Lavin, who mentored her) and Women of the House. Heaton then details the role and series for which she is best known, “Debra Barone” on Everybody Loves Raymond. She chronicles her work on the series from her audition, to shooting the series finale (which was delayed when she contracted laryngitis). She describes the series’ shooting schedule, working with series’ directors Gary Halvorson and Will MacKenzie, and how her real-life pregnancies were covered up on the show. She also notes some of the moments of the show that garnered the biggest laughs, including: Debra’s desperate attempts to get a turkey in the oven, Raymond trying lift Debra onto the refrigerator in a moment of glee and slamming her into it, and Debra dropping ice cream on Raymond’s lap (eliciting a “minute and a half laugh”). Lastly, she touches on her appearances as spokesperson for Albertsons grocery stores and on some of her post-Raymond television movies. Karen Herman conducted the interview on October 23, 2006.