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'Everybody Loves Raymond' stars reflect ahead of reunion: 'We were very lucky'

Oct. 20 (UPI) -- The stars of Everybody Loves Raymond are looking back on the show ahead of their reunion this week.

Cast members Ray Romano (Ray Barone), Patricia Heaton (Debra Barone) and Brad Garrett (Robert Barone) discussed the series during Tuesday's episode of Today.

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Everybody Loves Raymond had a nine-season run on CBS from 1996 to 2005. The show centered on Ray (Romano), a sportswriter living with his family in Long Island, N.Y.

Romano, Heaton, Garrett, Monica Horan (Amy MacDougall-Barone) and series creator Phil Rosenthal will reunite Friday for a table read for charity. The event is part of the International Myeloma Foundation's annual Comedy Celebration.

On Today, Garrett said revisiting the scripts for the reunion reminded him how "amazing" the writing was for the show.

"That's what really has always stood out," the actor said. "We were very lucky to get a cast like this. We had a chemistry early on that you can't predict and you can't plan, but it was really how all the writing just stood out."

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Romano agreed, saying reviewing the scripts allowed him "to see the show like a viewer."

"I appreciated it so much more now, looking back at the scripts now, because I had forgotten what it was like. I'm reading it on the page and I'm like, 'Man, this was good,'" he said.

Romano credited Everybody Loves Raymond's casting with a big part of the show's success. He said 200 actresses read for the role of Debra before Heaton auditioned.

"She was the anchor, in my opinion," Garrett added. "It was so easy to fall into this woe is me victimhood, and she played this strong woman who wouldn't take anyone's crap."

Everybody Loves Raymond co-starred Doris Roberts (Marie Barone) and Peter Boyle (Frank Barone), who died in 2016 and 2006, respectively. Romano said Roberts and Boyle's deaths make a reboot or revival unlikely.

"We've kind of agreed that that probably will never, not probably, it won't happen with us," he said. "We're missing Peter, we're missing Doris, we're missing the crux of the show. This is kind of as close as it'll get to us performing again, the show."

The Everybody Loves Raymond reunion will air Friday at 9 p.m. EDT on the IMF website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.

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