Danny DeVito

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Danny DeVito
Danny DeVito by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
DeVito in July 2013
BornDaniel Michael DeVito, Jr.
(1944-11-17) November 17, 1944 (age 69)
Neptune Township, New Jersey, U.S.
OccupationActor, comedian, film director, film producer
Years active1970–present
Height5 ft 0 in (1.52 m)
Spouse(s)Rhea Perlman (m. 1982)
ChildrenLucy Chet DeVito (born 1983)
Grace Fan DeVito (born 1985)
Jacob Daniel DeVito (born 1987)
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Danny DeVito
Danny DeVito by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
DeVito in July 2013
BornDaniel Michael DeVito, Jr.
(1944-11-17) November 17, 1944 (age 69)
Neptune Township, New Jersey, U.S.
OccupationActor, comedian, film director, film producer
Years active1970–present
Height5 ft 0 in (1.52 m)
Spouse(s)Rhea Perlman (m. 1982)
ChildrenLucy Chet DeVito (born 1983)
Grace Fan DeVito (born 1985)
Jacob Daniel DeVito (born 1987)

Daniel Michael "Danny" DeVito, Jr. (born November 17, 1944) is an American actor, comedian, director, and producer. He first gained prominence for his portrayal of taxi dispatcher Louie De Palma on the ABC and NBC television series Taxi (1978–1983), for which he won a Golden Globe and an Emmy. He went on to become a major film star, known for his roles in films such as Terms of Endearment, Romancing the Stone, Twins, Batman Returns, Get Shorty, and L.A. Confidential, and for his voiceover work in films such as Space Jam, Hercules, and The Lorax.

DeVito co-founded Jersey Films with Michael Shamberg. Soon afterwards, Stacey Sher became an equal partner. The production company is known for films such as Pulp Fiction, Garden State, and Freedom Writers. DeVito also owns Jersey Television, which produced the Comedy Central series Reno 911!. DeVito and wife Rhea Perlman starred together in his 1996 film Matilda, based on Roald Dahl's children's novel. He currently stars as Frank Reynolds on the FXX sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He also directs and produces graphic short horror films for his Internet venture The Blood Factory. He has appeared in several of them, as have friends of his and members of his family.[1]

Early life[edit]

DeVito was born in Neptune Township, New Jersey, the son of Julia (née Moccello), a homemaker, and Daniel DeVito.[2][3] DeVito grew up in a family of five, with his parents and two older sisters.[4] DeVito is of Italian descent (his family is originally from San Fele, Basilicata)[5] and grew up in Asbury Park.[6] He boarded at Oratory Preparatory School, in Summit, New Jersey, and graduated in 1962. DeVito went to the boarding school at the age of 14, after he persuaded his father to send him there as it would keep him out of trouble.[4] After leaving the boarding school he subsequently trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, from which he graduated in 1966. In his early theater days, he performed with the Colonnades Theater Lab, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and, along with his wife Rhea Perlman, appeared in plays produced by the Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective. DeVito is also the brother of Fran DeVito, an artist and musician.

Film acting career[edit]

DeVito played Martini in the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, reprising his role from the 1971 off-Broadway play of the same name. He gained fame in 1978 playing Louie De Palma, the short but domineering dispatcher for the fictional Sunshine Cab Company, on the hit TV show Taxi. After Taxi ended, DeVito began a successful film career, starting with roles in 1983's Terms of Endearment, as the comic rogue in the romantic adventure Romancing the Stone, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, and its 1985 sequel, The Jewel of the Nile. In 1986, DeVito starred in Ruthless People with Bette Midler and Judge Reinhold, and in 1987, he made his feature-directing debut with the dark comedy Throw Momma from the Train, in which he starred with Billy Crystal and Anne Ramsey. Two years later, DeVito reunited with Douglas and Turner in The War of the Roses, which he directed and in which he co-starred.

DeVito's work during this time includes Other People's Money with Gregory Peck, director Barry Levinson's Tin Men as a competitive rival salesman to Richard Dreyfuss' character, two co-starring vehicles with Arnold Schwarzenegger (the comedies Twins and Junior), and playing The Penguin as a deformed sociopath in director Tim Burton's Batman Returns (1992).

DeVito at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2010

Although generally a comic actor, DeVito expanded into dramatic roles with The Rainmaker, Hoffa (1992), which he directed and in which he co-starred with Jack Nicholson, Jack the Bear (1993), L.A. Confidential, The Big Kahuna, and Heist (2001), as a gangster nemesis to Gene Hackman's character.

DeVito has an interest in documentaries: In 2006, he began a partnership with Morgan Freeman's company ClickStar, on which he hosts a documentary channel called Jersey Docs. He was also interviewed in the documentary Revenge of the Electric Car, about his interest in and ownership of electric vehicles.


In April 2012, DeVito made his West End acting debut in a revival of the Neil Simon play The Sunshine Boys - alongside Olivier Award-winning actor Richard Griffiths. The play previewed at the Savoy Theatre from 27 April 2012, opened on 17 May and played a limited 12-week season until 28 July.[7]


DeVito has become a major film and television producer. Through Jersey Films, he has produced many films, including Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Erin Brockovich (for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture), Gattaca, and Garden State.

In 1999, DeVito produced and co-starred in Man on the Moon, a film about the unusual life of his former Taxi co-star, Andy Kaufman, who was played in the film by Jim Carrey. DeVito also produced the Comedy Central series Reno 911!, as well as the film spin off Reno 911!: Miami.


The War of the Roses was a commercial and critical success, as was Matilda. However, Death to Smoochy and Duplex were not as successful.[9] DeVito has also finished production on an untitled "apocalyptic thriller".[10]

Television and voice-over work[edit]

DeVito at a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in August 2011

In 1977, DeVito played the role of John 'John John the Apple' DeAppoliso in the Starsky and Hutch episode titled "The Collector".[citation needed] In 1986, DeVito directed and starred in an episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories. In the black comedy episode from season two, titled "The Wedding Ring", DeVito acquires an engagement ring for his wife (played by his real-life wife, actress Rhea Perlman). When the ring is slipped on his wife's finger, she becomes possessed by the ring's former owner, a murderous black widow.

In 1990, DeVito and Perlman played a couple (Vic & Paula) commenting on the state of the environment in The Earth Day Special.

In addition to his Taxi work, DeVito voiced Herb Powell, Homer Simpson's half-brother, on two episodes of The Simpsons. In 1996, he provided the voice of Mister Swackhammer in the Looney Tunes film Space Jam. In 1997, he was the voice of the satyr Philoctetes in the film Hercules

In 1999, DeVito hosted the last Saturday Night Live episode before the year 2000. He earned a 2004 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for an episode of Friends,[11] following four Emmy nominations (including a 1981 win) for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy for Taxi. In 2006, DeVito joined the cast of the FX Networks television series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as Frank Reynolds.

In 2011, DeVito received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in television.[12]

In 2012, DeVito was in the animated film The Lorax, as the Lorax, the tree-loving guardian of the forest.

In 2013, along with Rashida Jones, he was a voice guest star on The Changing of the Guardian episode of The Simpsons (aired on January 27, 2013. season 24 episode 11).

Personal life[edit]

DeVito with wife Rhea Perlman (right)

DeVito met actress Rhea Perlman on January 17, 1971, when she went to see a friend in the single performance of the play The Shrinking Bride, which also featured DeVito.[13] They moved in together two weeks after meeting.[14] The couple married on January 28, 1982.[15] They have three children: Lucy Chet DeVito (born March 11, 1983), Grace Fan DeVito (born March 1985), and Jacob Daniel DeVito (born October 1987).[16] Throughout their relationship, Perlman and DeVito have acted alongside each other several times, including in the TV show Taxi and the feature film Matilda[16] (in which they played Matilda's parents). DeVito and Perlman separated in October 2012 after 30 years of marriage and over 40 years together.[16] However, in March 2013, it was reported that they had reconciled and called off the separation.[17] The family resides in Beverly Hills, California, and also spend time at their vacation home in Interlaken, New Jersey.[18]

DeVito is a known vegetarian and animal lover.[19] On Twitter, he told his followers to see Forks Over Knives, a well-known health documentary advocating for plant-based diets like veganism.[20] While filming Taxi he refused to kill cockroaches on the set.[21]

Devito and Perlman are members of the steering committee of the Friends of the Apollo, supporting a theater in Oberlin, Ohio, as is filmmaker Jonathan Demme.[22]

DeVito co-owned a restaurant called DeVito South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida, which closed in 2011.[23]


List of acting credits in film and television
1972Lady LibertyFred MancusoReleased in 1971 in Italy.
Hot Dogs for GauguinAdrian
1973Hurry Up, or I'll Be 30Petey
1975One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestMartini
1976Car WashJoeScenes cut from theatrical print
1977The VanAndy
1978Goin' SouthHog
1981Going Ape!LazloNominated—Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor
1983Terms of EndearmentVernon Dahlart
1984Romancing the StoneRalph
The Ratings GameVic De SalvoShowtime directing debut
Johnny DangerouslyBurr
1985The Jewel of the NileRalphAlso featured in music video of film's theme tune 'When the going gets tough' with Billy Ocean
Amazing StoriesHerbert
Head OfficeFrank Steadman
1986Wise GuysHarry Valentini
Ruthless PeopleSam StoneNominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
My Little Pony: The MovieThe Grundle KingVoice only
1987Throw Momma from the TrainOwen LiftDirector
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Tin MenErnest Tilley
1988TwinsVincent Benedict
1989The War of the RosesGavin D'AmatoDirector
Nominated—Golden Bear (Berlin)[24]
1991Other People's MoneyLarry Garfield
1992Batman ReturnsThe PenguinNominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
Nominated—Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor
HoffaBobby CiaroProducer, Director
Nominated—Golden Bear (Berlin)[25]
Nominated—Razzie Award for Worst Director
1993Jack the BearJohn Leary
Last Action HeroWhiskersVoice only
Look Who's Talking NowRoxVoice only
1994Reality BitesProducer
JuniorDr. Larry Arbogast
Pulp FictionExecutive producer
Renaissance ManBill Rago
1995Get ShortyMartin WeirNominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1996Mars Attacks!Rude gambler
MatildaHarry WormwoodDirector, producer, narrator
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Space JamMr. SwackhammerVoice only
1997The RainmakerDeck ShiffletNominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
HerculesPhiloctetesVoice only
L.A. ConfidentialSid HudgensNominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1998Living Out LoudPat FrancatoNominated—Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
1999The Big KahunaPhil Cooper
Man on the MoonGeorge ShapiroProducer
The Virgin SuicidesDr. Hornicker
2000Drowning MonaWyatt Rash
Erin BrockovichProducer
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Picture
How HighProducer
ScrewedGrover Cleaver
What's the Worst That Could Happen?Max Fairbanks
Death to SmoochyBurke BennetDirector
Austin Powers in Goldmemberhimself as "Mini-Me"
2003Anything ElseHarvey Wexler
Big FishAmos Calloway
DuplexDirector and narrator
2004Christmas in LoveBrad LaGuardia
Garden StateProducer
FriendsOfficer Roy GoodbodyGuest Actor
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
2005Be CoolMartin Weir
Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm SchoolBooth
Queen BDirector
2006–PresentIt's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaFrank ReynoldsNominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical
2006Relative StrangersFrank Menure
Even MoneyWalter
The Oh in OhioWayne
Deck the HallsBuddy HallNominated—Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor
Mojo (2006 music video)Unnamed
2007The Good NightMel
Reno 911!: MiamiDistrict AttorneyProducer
Just Add WaterMerl
Nobel SonGastner
2009House BrokenTom "Smoky" Cathkart
Solitary ManJimmy
2010When in RomeAl
2011Girl Walks Into a BarAldo
2012The LoraxThe LoraxVoice only
Hotel NoirEugene Portland
2015TripletsVincent BenedictAnnounced


  1. ^ Exclusive: Danny DeVito Talks The Blood Factory and More
  2. ^ "Biography - Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  3. ^ "Danny DeVito Biography (1944-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  4. ^ a b The Guardian
  5. ^ Dani Shapiro (29 June 2010). "My favorite place: Danny DeVito". CNN. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Shaw, David. "DeVito! Although He Has a Penchant for Dark Comedies, Actor-Director Danny DeVito Is Serious About His Craft, His Family and His Cigars", Cigar Aficionado profile, accessed May 2, 2007. "Danny DeVito was born in 1944 in the shore town of Neptune, New Jersey—hence the name of his production company—and raised in neighboring Asbury Park, the youngest of five children (two of whom died before he was born)."
  7. ^ What's in Stage
  8. ^ Maslin, Janet (1987-12-01). "Throw Momma from the Train". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ "Danny DeVito Movie Box Office Results". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  10. ^ "Danny DeVito Completes Production on Apocalyptic Thriller". ComingSoon.net. 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  11. ^ Danny DeVito Emmy Nominated
  12. ^ "Danny DeVito gets star on Hollywood Walk". KTAR.com (Bonneville International). Associated Press. August 18, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  13. ^ Lovece, Frank; with Franco, Jules (1988). Hailing Taxi: The Official Book of the Show. New York: Simon & Schuster / Prentice Hall Press. pp. 53, 286. ISBN 978-0-13-372103-4. 
  14. ^ Lovece, pp. 53, 80
  15. ^ Wallace, Carol (December 12, 1983). "Chalk Up a Successful Marriage for TV's Tart-Tongued Twosome, Danny De Vito and Rhea Perlman". People. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c "Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman Separate". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  17. ^ Leonard, Elizabeth (March 15, 2013). "Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman Are Back Together". People. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Monmouth County, New Jersey Tax Assessor's Office property record for Danny De Vito and Rhea Perlman". Tax1.co.monmouth.nj.us. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  19. ^ "Famous Vegetarians and vegans". 
  20. ^ "Celebrity Talk". 
  21. ^ "Animal Rights Quotes". 
  22. ^ "Friends of the Apollo". Oberlin College. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  23. ^ DeVito South Beach
  24. ^ "Berlinale: 1990 Programme". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  25. ^ "Berlinale: 1993 Programme". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-05-31. 

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