Peter Boyle, who died last night, established his career with politically charged roles in “Joe,” in which he played a blue-collar member of the “silent majority” who goes on a rampage against Hippies, to the savvy and somewhat desperate campaign manager Marvin Lucas who gets California Senate candidate Bill McCay (Robert Redford) into office. That 1972 film, and his role, remains a favorite of political consultants and scholars such as author Garry Wills, who consider it ahead of its time because of the way it depicted the influence of money and image into politics.
TV movies included “Tail Gunner Joe,” where he played Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy; “Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago Eight,” where he played jailed political protester David Dellinger and “Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North,” in which he was Vice Admiral John Poindexter.
A man known for a quick temper and also a wicked charm, Boyle called himself a “conservative radical,” a designation that perhaps came from experience.
From the New York Times:
“He was living in Chicago at the time of the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and never forgot the ensuing explosion of violence and the reek of tear gas in the streets. Early on, he described himself as a ‘conservative radical.'”