"It was scary the way the 'Everybody Loves Raymond' writers would write exactly what I was going through in my own life. It would freak me out that I would be dealing with the kids' school stuff, or with an aspect of my relationship with my husband, and I'd get the script and it would be right there on the page! I think it's what made the show so successful -- the experience of the characters is really universal."
About This Interview
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.