Phil Rosenthal, creator of the hit CBS sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” stopped by Temple Beth Am of Merrick-Bellmore on May 6 for a special fundraiser. His show, starring comedian Ray Romano, ran for nearly a decade, from 1996 to 2005. Though the show was primarily filmed in a studio in California, it was set in Lynbrook.
Rosenthal recently filmed a documentary, “Exporting Raymond,” which chronicled his experiences as a consultant for the Russian version of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” filmed with Russian actors. The documentary, directed by Rosenthal, conveyed the humor that Rosenthal found in learning about a new culture.
Rosenthal said the idea for the film was conceived when the head of Sony Entertainment asked him to act as a consultant on the project. He suggested making a fictional film about the experience, but Rosenthal said, “If the situation really does exist, why not bring a camera crew over there and film what really happened?”
A screening of the 85-minute documentary was shown to roughly 50 Beth Am congregants and was met with much laughter. Rosenthal stuck around for a question-and-answer session, during which he entertained the audience by discussing his experiences in Russia, sharing insight into the making of the United States version of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and sharing jokes about his own personal and family life.
“It was a great time,” said Merokean Richard Shear. “He was very naturally funny.”
According to Rosenthal, “Everybody Loves Raymond” has been brought to many countries beside Russia, including England, the Netherlands, Egypt and India. It is, he said, the most produced show in the world.
“It’s not about money,” Rosenthal said. “It’s about the joy and the love of getting to do what you love, with people you love, for a long time. That I wish on all of you.”
Rosenthal, a Hofstra University graduate, is married to Monica Horan, who played Amy on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” He said that many of the characters, including Ray’s parents — portrayed by Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle, who died in 2009 — are based on his own family members.