American actor Ray Romano is known within Hollywood as a multi-talented star for his various talents ranging from stand-up comedy, screenwriting, to voice acting. Ray has built his career by performing on various outlets on Comedy Central and the David Letterman Show. Romano, however, came into the spotlight when he became the star of his own show, ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’, where he essayed the lead male role of Raymond Barone. Romano has also voiced for the character of "Manny" in the Ice Age film franchise. He also appeared as a guest celebrity on the hit television show ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’, in its 2000th episode. He created and starred in ‘Men of a Certain Age’, a comedy-drama. He currently has a recurring role in the show ‘Parenthood’, starring as the love interest of the character Sarah Braverman. His work over all these years has been wildly appreciated by the audience and earned him several award nominations, such as the Emmy, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Golden Globe Awards. He has also been rated as one of the top 20 entertainers. Along with his acting and comedy skills, he is also an accomplished poker and golf player.
Childhood & Early Life
Raymond Albert ‘Ray’ Romano was born on December 21, 1957 in New York to Lucie Fortini, a piano teacher in Queens and Albert Romano, a real estate agent and engineer.
He grew up in Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens and is the middle child.
In 1975, he graduated from the Hillcrest High School. As he initially wanted to become an accountant, he attended Queens College, in Flushing, New York, with accounting as his major.
He has an elder brother, Richard, who works as sergeant with NYPD and a younger brother, Robert, a second-grade teacher in New York City.
Ray’s introduction to standup comedy was Bill Cosby’s ‘To Russell, My Brother Whom I Slept With’. Cosby’s organic sense of humor greatly appealed to Romano and piqued his interest in an acting career.
Romano loved acting and comedy ever since he was in highschool. He started a sketch group with four of his friends; the group used to perform comical improvisations in front of live audiences, which gave Romano a taste for stand-up comedy.
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Ray initially worked as a handyman, doing odd jobs as a sales and delivery person.
The inspiration to work in comedy full-time came in 1987 when he won a stand-up comedy competition organized by one of New York City’s popular radio stations.
In 1989, he participated in the Johnnie Walker Comedy Search which was instrumental in kickstarting his comedy career. Later that year, he appeared in the short film 'Caesar's Island'.
In 1995-96 he provided the voiceover for the character 'Ray' on Comedy Central's 'Dr. Katz Professional Therapist'.
The year 1996 marked the beginning of a great career. Romano had a guest spot on the 'David Letterman Show' which became extremely popular.
This propelled his successful TV show 'Everybody Loves Raymond'. The highly successful show established him as an exceptional actor and comedian and also fetched him a number of prestigious awards.
During this period, he also appeared in sitcoms such as 'All That' and 'Sesame Street'. In 2002, Ray voiced the role of ‘Manny’ the woolly mammoth in the acclaimed animated movie 'Ice Age'. An instant hit, the franchise was renewed for four consecutive movies and spawned a multitude of game shows and short films.
He also worked in ‘Welcome to Mooseport', 'Eulogy', and '95 Miles To Go' during this time.
After a successful stint of 9 seasons, Everybody Loves Raymond ended in 2005.Romano’s huge popularity earned him recurring roles on sitcoms such as 'The Simpsons', ‘Til Death', 'The Knights of Prosperity', 'Hannah Montana' as a guest artist.
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In 2006, he was cast as Maurice in the movie 'Grilled'.
The year 2008 saw him working as Abel in 'The Last Word' and Fred Marsh in 'The Grand'.
In 2009, Romano starred in 'Men of a Certain Age', a comedy-drama he himself created. He also had guest appearances on shows such as 'The Office' and 'The Middle' in 2011. In the meantime, the third and fourth movies of the Ice Age franchise 'Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs' and 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' saw him reprise the role of ‘Manny’.
In 2014, he worked as a guest star in 'Maron’. He was also a part of the movie ‘Rob the Mob’. 2016 was a busy year for Romano with the movie 'Ice Age: Collision Course' and television shows including ‘Vinyl’ and ‘Kevin Can Wait’.
Romano’s most recent movie was ‘The Big Sick’, a romantic comedy that released worldwide in January 2017.
Romano’s most famous role till date, the character of ‘Raymond Barone’ was born in 1995. After appearing on 'The Late Show with David Letterman', the host, David Letterman offered him a developmental deal with his production company, Worldwide Pants, which then led to the CBS hit show 'Everybody Loves Raymond'. The critically and commercially acclaimed show ran for nine seasons, from 1996 to 2005.
Ray Romano published a best-selling memoir 'Everything and a Kite' in the year 1999 which was critically acclaimed.
In 2002 Ray became a part of the Ice Age franchise, voicing the role of ‘Manny’, the mammoth, one of the three male leads in the animated movie. The film was a major hit with the audiences and has seen progressive improvements in animation and storyline.
Awards & Achievements
Ray has been nominated for Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Golden Globes awards during his career. He won 'American Comedy Awards' from 1999-2001 for his leading role in the sitcom 'Everybody Loves Raymond' as Funniest Male Performer in a Television Series.
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In 2001, he won 'American Film Institute Award' for Best Actor in a Television Series for ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’.
He has nine nominations and two Emmy Award wins in 2002 & 2005, for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’.
He won the 'People's Choice Awards' from 2002-2006 for Favorite Male Television Performer for ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’.
He was nominated for the Kids Choice Awards for Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie in 2003 and 2010 for his role of ‘Manny’ in the Ice Age series.
Ray Romano met his wife Anna Scarpulla while working at a bank. They married in 1987, and have four children; daughter Alexandra, born in 1990; son Joseph, born in 1998 and twin boys; Matthew and Gregory, born in 1993.
Ray revealed to popular celebrity magazine 'People' in 2012 that his wife successfully battled stage one breast cancer in 2010, stating that his reason to share the experience was to have an effect, to help people.
As of August 2017, Ray Romano has an estimated net worth of $120 million.
He originally planned to become an accountant.