“Raymond” creator, “Somebody Feed Phil” star Phil Rosenthal, remembers “superhero” Anthony Bourdain

Netflix(NEW YORK) — Phil Rosenthal, the award-winning creator of the beloved sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, sat with ABC Radio to chat about the sophomore installment of his Netflix eating/travelogue series Somebody Feed Phil, when the topic turned to the untimely death of Anthony Bourdain. 

“God,” Rosenthal tells ABC Radio. “It’s rough. He was a tremendous influence not just on me, but everybody who travels and eats.”

He continued, “[T]he way I sold the show to Netflix was I said, ‘I’m exactly like Anthony Bourdain if he was afraid of everything!’ — But just saying that shows you what an inspiration he was and how he invented an entire genre.”

“There’s a lot of us out there who do this kind of food travel,” Rosenthal added. “I have my take on it. But it’s my take on the thing he did! That he pioneered! And there’s nobody like him…In my wildest dreams I couldn’t be like him. I’m not going to Borneo and getting a chest tattoo with the tribes and pounding nails into my skin. He’s a superhero!”

The producer reminisced, “I got to have dinner with him once in New York years ago. He was lovely and gracious…he was super nice. …You know, he comes off…in the show: you know cool guy, macho guy, but he’s warm and gracious and and not what I expected when I met him.”

Solemnly, Rosenthal added, “But…you never know what’s going on. You never know…People are quick to judge. ‘How could he do that to his family?’ People don’t understand! It’s a disease like a cancer,” Rosenthal says of depression, adding, “and…you should never judge someone in that position. You don’t know.”

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