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B Entries
Barbara Bain
Gene Barry
Wesley E. Barry
Martin Berkeley
Paul Birch
Whit Bissell
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Jerome Bixby
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Peter Boyle
Ray Bradbury
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BOYLE, PETER
(1935–2006). American actor.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Appeared in: The Monitors (Jack Shea 1969); Young Frankenstein (Mel BROOKS 1974); Outland (Peter HYAMS 1981); Disaster at Silo 7 (tv movie) (Larry Elikann 1988); Challenger (tv movie) (Glenn Jordan 1990); Poochinski (tv pilot) (1990); Solar Crisis (Richard C. Safarian and Alan SMITHEE 1990); Men of Respect (William Reilly 1991); The Shadow (Russell Mulcahy 1994); The Santa Clause (John Pasquin 1994); "Church of Metropolis" (1994), " … We Have a Lot to Talk About" (1995), episodes of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman; "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" (1995), episode of The X-Files; Exquisite Tenderness (Carl Schenkel 1995); A Deadly Vision (tv movie) (Bill L. Norton 1997); Species 2 (Peter Medak 1998); Doctor Dolittle (Betty Thomas 1998); Breaking the Silence: The Making of Hannibal (documentary) (Charles de Lauzirika 2001); The Cat Returns (animated; voice) (Hiroyuki Morita 2002); The Adventures of Pluto Nash (Ron Underwood 2002); The Santa Clause 2 (uncredited) (Michael Lembeck 2002); Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (Raja Gosnell 2005); "Roswell" (2005), episode of Tripping the Rift; The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (Lembeck 2006).
 
Peter Boyle has usually been regarded as an ordinary-looking actor who excelled at portraying ordinary men—as epitomized by his breakthrough performance in Joe (1970)—which explains why, for the first two decades of his career, he mostly appeared in gritty urban dramas and period pieces perfectly suited to his ordinariness, instead of outré science fiction films. Thus, if you hadn't already figured out that Outland was really just a warmed-over version of High Noon, the appearance of Boyle as the chief heavy signaled that the production, despite its setting, really had nothing to do with outer space. So, when Boyle suddenly began to appear in numerous genre films during the 1990s, that might be interpreted as a signal that the American viewing public, by that time, had finally accepted science fiction films as ordinary, everyday entertainments, and hence suitable venues for an actor like Boyle.

Appearances can be deceiving, of course, and Boyle was in fact far from ordinary, a man who among other things was a fierce anti-war activist and a close friend of John LENNON, who was the best man at his wedding. And, although for the most part his acting career is a matter of unchallenging roles portrayed with effortless competence (such as his work for the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond [1996-2005]), he did provide us with two of the most stunning performances ever seen in the history of science fiction film.

First, in Young Frankenstein, his work as the Frankenstein monster, in my opinion, stands with that of Boris KARLOFF as the only two significant portrayals of that pivotal character. The genius of his approach is that he recognized a newly-created monster, despite his adult body, would approach the world like a child, so that his performance was uniquely, and endearingly, childlike. Oblivious to the tv sketch-comedy shtick offered by cohorts Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman, and Marty Feldman, Boyle and Gene WILDER carry on with a gentle drama about a father figure compassionately guiding his charge to maturity, with a famous scene—Wilder and Boyle performing "Puttin' on the Ritz"—which is both hilarious and poignant. Young Frankenstein remains the only version of Mary Shelley's story with a happy ending, and the only version that we would want to have a happy ending.

His second brilliant performance came in an episode of The X-Files, "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," where he was cast as a man with the unique ability to foretell how a person will die. In defiance of expectations, Boyle's character regards this power neither as a blessing nor as a curse; it is simply a part of his life that he long ago accepted, so that he can calmly announce his latest predictions even while fully aware of his own impending death. In a world overly impressed by passionate histrionics, only rarely has such understated work garnered an Emmy Award, but even the most undiscerning of viewers could recognize how what singular talent it required to take such an extraordinary person and make him seem so ordinary.

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