Ray Romano

So why quit after nine successful seasons?

"It was a creative decision," says Ray Romano who plays the title character. The show is very loosely based on his real life—along with the lives of the other writers on the show.

"We just thought, 'We have run out of stories.' You know, we're in the writers' room. We know how hard it is to come up with new and fresh ideas," Ray says. "It's not money. I have money…I don't have Oprah money, but I have money! So that was it. It was just we love the show. The show is our heart and soul. It's our legacy, if you will, and we want to leave at the top of our game."
Ray Romano and Oprah

Ray says the taping of the final episode was very emotional. At the end of the taping, Ray and the other cast members invited friends and family to a wrap party on stage. He had special messages to thank everyone. He even read aloud a note his brothers had written him when he was moving from New York to Los Angeles to begin working on the show!

Ray says he never dreamed the show would be so successful.

"I mean, I'm here," Ray says. "I'm on The Oprah Show! I've gained the world. The audience and everybody there has given me the world."
Ray Romano

TV Guide ranked Ray's character as one of the greatest TV dads of all time—ahead of such legends as Ward Cleaver from Leave It to Beaver! But Ray isn't so sure if that's a good thing!

Ray: Yeah, I don't know what that means, because have you seen [the show]? I mean, if you've seen the show…

Oprah: What do you think of that, though? They're basing it on the fact that all of us who watch that show…it's like watching yourself in real life. It's like watching what goes on in your own family.

Ray: That's the comment I get…when I meet the public on the street; is, "How do you know that that's my husband?" "That's my wife!" And it's a sad commentary I say!
Ray Romano's wife, Anna

Ray and his wife Anna have been married for more than 17 years. In real life, she gets along very well with Patricia Heaton, Ray's TV wife.

Ray: They have a lot in common.

Anna: We feel the same way.

Ray: I don't sleep with either of them!
Patricia Heaton and Ray Romano

Every Monday night for the last nine years, women have rooted for Ray's wife, Debra. In real life, Patricia Heaton is a busy mom of four boys. She says that she was glad to be done with the show and ready to move on, so she surprised everybody—including herself—by crying through the final rehearsals. The farewell has been emotional, Patricia says, because the cast members' onscreen family bonds feel real. After nine years, Patricia says she and Ray are like an old married couple—sometimes loving, sometimes loathing.

"This is a perfect example," Patricia explains. "In the final episode, Ray and I have to do a scene together where I'm very loving toward him. I was preparing offstage. I just let all these feelings of affection kind of come up…and right before I went on, Ray said, 'Don't walk on on my laugh. Hold for my laugh.' I was like, nine years, two Emmys and you're giving me a note on acting on the last episode?' I said, 'You know what? You just screwed up my preparation because I'm back here trying to love you, and now I hate you.'"

What will Patricia miss about Ray? "I'll miss the sex," she jokes. "Anna's not here today, is she?"
Patricia Heaton

Patricia reveals a side of herself that few actresses would dare. "Giving birth four times has taught me that a plastic surgeon is a girl's best friend,” she says. "Having a C-section every two years makes your stomach end up looking like one of those cute Chinese Sharpei dogs—that have all the folds and skins hanging off them. That's not cute. My breasts—you had to fold them like Origami to get them into a bra. It was horrible. The advantage to having them lifted was my waistline went down because I no longer had to tuck 'em in my belt."

Oprah: I think it's great you're so honest about it.

Patricia: I think people make such a big deal about hiding it, and I also think that tabloids are going to discover everything about it and tell it anyway. So I'd rather be the one delivering the news and be in control of it.
Brad Garrett

He's the one who doesn't always love Raymond. Even though Brad Garrett is 6'8", the guy who plays Ray's brother Robert always gets the short end of the stick. But in real life, Brad has the utmost respect for Ray. "He's the same humble guy from Queens…none of this has affected him. It's just great when everyone stays grateful."

Oprah: How has [the fame] affected you?

Brad: My butler told me at lunch, he said, "Sire, why must I wear a corset?"

Ray: If I knew you were this funny, we could do another year.
Brad Garrett, Patricia Heaton and Ray Romano

Brad's impersonations of other people are what Patricia says she will miss most. Nobody has to ask twice—Brad immediately goes into his impersonation of Bill Cosby.

"Uh-oh," Ray moans. "You opened the can up."

After Brad does Dustin Hoffman, Dr. Phil and Doug Henning, the cast members and Oprah are in stitches.

"This is what we got to do,” says Patricia. "We got paid to…have so much fun. That's what I'm going to miss."
Peter Boyle

Which cast member had John Lennon as a best man? Peter Boyle, known to audiences as the annoying father-in-law Frank! Peter met John Lennon through Yoko Ono, who was a friend of his wife's.

Oprah: I heard you have a little prayer that you think sums up [your feelings about the show].

Peter: I found this little thing in a book. It said, "I do a wonderful job in a wonderful way with wonderful people for wonderful pay." And this came true! I visualized it!
Doris Roberts

On camera, Doris Roberts is the meddling mother-in-law. Behind the scenes, she's been acting for more than 50 years!

But she says nothing can replace her experience on Everybody Loves Raymond. "It's the best gig I've ever had in my lifetime," she says. And although the show is ending, she's looking forward to another 50 years in acting. "My motto is: I don't give in, I don't give up and I don't take no for an answer."
Monica Horan

Monica Horan officially joined the show just last year. Fans cheered when Ray's brother, Robert, finally tied the knot with Monica's character, Amy.

Monica's husband, Phil Rosenthal, created the show. The show "was already such a part of our lives" Monica says, "to be able to able to jump in and be part of it—wow."
Phil Rosenthal

Phil Rosenthal is the creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond.

Oprah: This is really an incredible cast that feels like a family.

Phil: It started to be a show about a family for families, and now it's written and performed by a family.

Ray: Dysfunctional family.

Phil: To the audience, I speak for everybody when we say, "Thank you." We have a tremendous respect and affection for you and it's one of the reasons we want to stop before we get lousy.
The cast of 'Everybody Loves Raymond'

On a serious note, Ray has something important to say to the group: "I got very lucky to be surrounded by these actors. Whether or not I've grown into an actor, I don't know. We'll find out…I'm just very grateful that they let me play with them and let me do this with them."

And the cast members have their own messages for Ray:

Patricia: What can I say? I love Ray and I never once from the pilot got the sense that he was a standup trying to be an actor. He's a wonderful actor and he's a great guy.

Brad: I want to thank you for the greatest time of my life, career-wise. And I want to thank you for your generosity as a human, as an actor, as a comedian.

Doris: I have just enjoyed this journey. Nine wonderful years with my friends, my family.

Peter: We love you, Ray!