Everybody Loves Raymond
For many people, comedian Ray Romano is easily connected with Ray Barone, his titular role in the acclaimed sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” (1996-2005), which brought in various critical accolades, including 3 Emmy Awards and 12 Emmy nominations. Kicking off his career as a standup comedian, Romano took his first major step by winning a comedy competition in 1989. Gradually, he became a Hollywood big name and appeared in such titles as the animated series “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist” (1995-1997, voiced Ray, also won a CableACE Award for his screenwriting work), Ice Age (2002, lent his voice for Manfred/Manny), Eulogy (2004) and the recent release Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006, reprised the animated role of Manny).
Off camera, one of E!’s “Top 20 Entertainers of 2001” wrote a novel titled “Everything and a Kite,” which became a New York Times bestseller list entry. The comedian also won $125,000 in an episode of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” (2000), which went to charity for the NYPD’s D.A.R.E. Unit. On a more private note, Romano is the father of four, three sons and a daughter, from his marriage to Anna Scarpulla (1987-now).
Childhood and Family:
Born on December 21, 1957, in Queens, New York, Raymond Romano is the second son of Italian-American Albert Romano (retired engineer) and Lucie Romano (piano teacher). Raymond attended Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood, New York, but then transferred to Hillcrest High School.
After graduating, Raymond, who was always a joker, took various jobs (as a gas station attendant, a bank teller and a futon deliveryman) while performing standup at comedy clubs. In 1987, he decided to do stand-up full-time and gave up his initial plans of being an accountant.
Raymond met his wife, Anna Scarpulla, at the bank where they worked, in 1982. He and Anna were married in 1987 and now have three sons, twins Matthew & Gregory Romano (born in 1993) and Joseph Raymond Romano (born on February 16, 1998), as well as a daughter, Alexandra Romano (born 1990).
In 1989, Ray Romano won a stand-up competition sponsored by a major New York radio station, which led to his appearance as a guest in the talk show “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” (1991). He also performed in the TV special program “The 15th Annual Young Comedians Special” (1992) and “Late Night With David Letterman” (1995).
Still in 1995, Romano’s comedic talent brought him to the animated series “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist” (1995-1997), where he voiced the recurring character of Ray. He later became the show’s staff writer. Even better, his screenwriting effort for the series won a CableACE award for Best Animated Programming Special or Series. The comedian was next cast as technician Ted Garelli in the now-defunct sitcom “NewsRadio” (1995), but due to artistic differences, he left the show and was replaced by Joe Rogan.
Shortly after, creator Philip Rosenthal chose Ray to star as Raymond “Ray” Barone in the worldwide sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” (1996-2005), which chronicles the life of a sportswriter (Ray Barone) and his eccentric family. Later, he also displayed the skill of screenwriting and producing. Fittingly, Romano’s observational family comedy harvested numerous awards, such as 3 Emmys (two for Best Comedy Series and one for Best Actor in a Comedy Series), a Screen Actors Guild, 3 People’s Choice awards, an American Comedy award, two Viewers for Quality Television awards, a TV Guide and a Television Critics Association award. Additionally, he received 12 Emmys (5 for Best Comedy Series, 5 for Best Actor in a Comedy Series, 2 for Best Writing for a Comedy Series), 2 Golden Globes, and 10 Screen Actors Guild nominations.
Amid the series, Romano made episodic performances as Ray Barone in the sitcoms “Cosby” (1997), “The Nanny” (1998), “The King of Queens” (1998, 1999, 2005) and “Becker” (1999). Three years later, the comedian went to the silver screen and provided his voice for Manfred/Manny, a kind-hearted wooly mammoth, in the animated movie Ice Age (2002), in which he earned a Kid’s Choice Blimp nomination. Romano, who in 1999 hosted the sketch show “Saturday Night Live,” reappeared on the show in 2003.
2004 saw the comedian act opposite veteran actor Gene Hackman in Welcome to Mooseport, take the supporting role of Skip Collins in the star-studded Eulogy, and produce the documentary film 95 Miles to Go. Meanwhile, upon the final episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” he executive produced the Emmy-nominated TV documentary program Everybody Loves Raymond: The Last Laugh (2005), which observed the years of making the sitcom.
A guest star in “The Simpsons” (2005, voiced Ray Magini), Romano reprised his animated role of Manny the mammoth in the cute sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006). Soon, the actor will join director Zak Penn in his comedy about a handful of actors involved in an actual poker tournament, The Grand, which is scheduled for release in 2007. The movie will also present performances from actors Hank Azaria and David Cross, as well as boxer Lennox Lewis.