Standing at 6’8" and possessed of a trademark deep voice, Brad Garrett is someone who is instantly recognizable to most television viewers. Unfortunately for Garrett, he is likely to be recognized as Robert Barone rather than as Brad Garrett. Playing Ray Romano’s brother, Garrett’s gentle giant instantly became a fan favorite, resulting in three Prime time Emmy nominations and one win for Best Supporting Actor.
But since Everybody Loves Raymond, Garrett has had difficulty shedding the image of Robert Barone. While having some success as a voice actor with supporting roles in the smash Pixar films Finding Nemo and Ratatouille, Garrett’s first shot at carrying his own show, FOX’s ‘Til Death, managed only four seasons before abysmal ratings and bad critical press got it pulled from the air in 2010. But 2013 may be the year that Garrett manages to finally shed the image of Robert Barone, as a highly touted new sitcom and a critically lauded supporting role in a recently released movie have Garrett poised to break out.
Not Fade Away, Directed by David Chase, 2012
Not Fade Away, a rock and roll coming of age film by Sopranos creator David Chase, has received mixed but mostly positive reviews since its December 21, 2012 release, currently holding a 76 percent rating on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. The film, starring John Magaro, Jack Huston, and reuniting Chase with Sopranos star James Gandolfini, is set in ’60s era New Jersey and follows the lives of a group of friends who form a rock and roll band. While the movie has gotten mixed reviews, Garrett’s role as music industry mogul Jerry Ragovy has been singled out by many critics as one of the movie’s best.
Even bigger for Garrett is his upcoming role starring in ABC’s new comedy How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life). Scheduled to premiere April 3, How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) is a bit of a role reversal for Garrett. Instead of the live-at-home adult brother he played in Everybody Loves Raymond, Garrett will star along with Weeds star Elizabeth Perkins as the parents of single mother Sarah Chalke who returns home after a divorce. The premise of the show is the conflict between the uptight Chalke and her free spirited parents in the raising of her child.
Early reviews for How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) have been mostly positive, particularly for Garrett and Perkins’ role as the parents. ABC obviously has high hopes for the show as it is currently scheduled to premiere in the highly coveted slot following ratings juggernaut Modern Family.
While it remains to be seen what lasting legacy Not Fade Away and How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) will have, it’s clear that Brad Garrett is intent on becoming much more than Robert Barone or "that guy who played the puffer fish in Finding Nemo" but to finally prove that he is an actor capable of more than supporting roles.