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Why ‘Everybody didn’t Love Raymond’

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Soon after Brad Garrett won the part of Ray Romano’s brother in the sitcom Every­­body Loves Raymond, he met Romano for the first time. He wasn’t impressed. Romano seemed like a lost teenager working at a supermarket. Garrett couldn’t believe that such an unassuming young guy could star in a television show.

Garrett felt that Romano was “subdued and egoless.” He lacked presence and didn’t appear particularly excited about their new project for CBS.

Garrett noticed that Romano spoke with a nasal twang. What’s worse, Romano’s anxiety enveloped the room: He’d ask crew members to inspect a “suspicious” mole on his skin or check whether he was “the only one who smelled propane” during rehearsal.

Concerned, Garrett asked Romano about his acting experience. “I was just fired from NewsRadio,” he shrugged.

In time, however, Garrett overcame his negative impression of his co-star. He came to realize that Romano’s low-key personality embodied the hapless character he would play. “He was truly the everyman whom a nation would soon fall in love with,” Garrett says.

The two actors got along well during the hit show’s nine-year run. When they get together today, Garrett accommodates Romano’s eccentricities. They “compare ailments,” Garrett says, and fret about aging.

His willingness to rise above his initial misgivings about Romano enabled Garrett to make the most of this career-making opportunity. Rather than try to change Romano, he stayed the course and focused on his own performance.

— Adapted from When the Balls Drop, Brad Garrett, Simon and Schuster.

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