Rhea Perlman

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Rhea Perlman
Perlman in August 2011
BornRhea Jo Perlman[1]
(1948-03-31) March 31, 1948 (age 66)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress, writer
Years active1972–present
Spouse(s)Danny DeVito (m. 1982)
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Rhea Perlman
Perlman in August 2011
BornRhea Jo Perlman[1]
(1948-03-31) March 31, 1948 (age 66)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress, writer
Years active1972–present
Spouse(s)Danny DeVito (m. 1982)

Rhea Jo Perlman (born March 31, 1948) is an American actress, best known for her role as Carla Tortelli on the sitcom Cheers, for which she won four Emmy Awards.

Early life[edit]

Perlman was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Philip and Adele Perlman. Her father was an actor and a doll and toy-part salesman; he later played barfly Phil on Cheers.[2] Her sister Heide Perlman was a writer, story editor, and producer on the television shows Cheers and Frasier. Rhea Perlman attended Hunter College in New York and is an active Democrat.[3] Her family is Jewish.

She began her acting career in 1972 when she played a bit role in the film Hot Dogs for Gauguin. That same year she appeared in Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective's production of Up – An Uppity Revue, along with her future husband, Danny DeVito.[citation needed]


Perlman at the 1988 Emmy Awards

Perlman began acting in the early 1970s with numerous appearances on TV films and short films. One of her first notable parts was a recurring role on the television show Taxi as Zena, girlfriend of Louie DePalma (played by Danny DeVito).

In 1982 she landed a role as Carla Tortelli on the hit sitcom Cheers. She won the Emmy four times, in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1989. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe six times. During her Cheers career, she was nominated for an Emmy every year but 1992, becoming the Cheers star to have the most wins and nominations.

In 1986, Perlman starred in an episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories titled "The Wedding Ring," which also starred DeVito as her character's husband.

In the 1990s, Perlman starred in several TV movies and motion pictures. In 1992, she starred in the made-for-TV-movie, To Grandmother's House We Go versus Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen, playing the wife of Jerry Van Dyke's character; the couple kidnapped the Olsen Twins' characters, hoping to cash in on ransom before Christmas. Other TV films in which she starred included the dramas A Place to Be Loved and In Spite of Love.

Perlman's motion picture roles included There Goes The Neighborhood (1992), Canadian Bacon (1995), Carpool (1996), Sunset Park (1996), and Matilda (1996). She had a cameo in the film 10 Items Or Less (2006), and also starred in the 2007 independent film Love Comes Lately.

She later starred in the 1996 sitcom Pearl as the title character and was featured on the 2001 TV drama Kate Brasher. Among her notable guest appearances was on the season 4 premiere of Becker, which starred Cheers co-star Ted Danson.

Perlman also appeared in a 2000 television film How to Marry a Billionaire: A Christmas Tale, in which she impersonated Jacqueline Kennedy. She also portrayed a therapist called Dr. Parella in the 2000 film Secret Cutting, which follows the story of a young girl named Dawn who self-injures. In 2007, Perlman appeared as Bertha in the West End of London in the comedy Boeing Boeing. In 2008, she starred in the Hallmark Channel original movie, The Christmas Choir, and appeared in Beethoven's Big Break in 2008 as Patricia Benji. In 2009 she appeared as Tanya's mother on the series Hung for Home Box Office Networks. In 2011, Perlman had a guest appearance as Mittens in one episode of Wilfred.


Perlman is the author of the successful illustrated children's book series Otto Undercover, whose six books to date (as of the middle of May 2012) are Born to Drive, Canyon Catastrophe, Water Balloon Doom, Toxic Taffy Takeover, Brink of the Ex-stink-tion, and Brain Freeze.

Personal life[edit]

Perlman with husband Danny DeVito

Perlman met actor Danny DeVito 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.[4] They moved in together two weeks after meeting.[5] The couple married on January 28, 1982.[6] They have three children: Lucy Chet DeVito (born March 1983), Grace Fan DeVito (born March 1985), and Jacob Daniel DeVito (born October 1987).[7] Throughout their relationship, Perlman and DeVito have acted alongside each other several times, including in the TV show Taxi and the feature film Matilda.[7] Perlman and DeVito separated in October 2012.[7] However, in March 2013, it was reported that they had reconciled and called off the separation.[8] The family resides in Beverly Hills, California, and also spend time at their vacation home in Interlaken, New Jersey.[9]

Perlman and DeVito are both members of the steering committee of the Friends of the Apollo, a theater in Oberlin, Ohio, as is filmmaker Jonathan Demme.[10]


1972Hot Dogs for GauguinWoman on FerryShort film
1976Selling of Vince D'AngeloMrs. D'AngeloTelevision movie
1976Stalk the Wild ChildJeanTelevision movie
1976I Want to Keep My Baby!Rae FinerTelevision movie
1977Mary Jane Harper Cried Last NightJudyTelevision movie
1977Having Babies IICheryl (uncredited)Television movie
1977Intimate StrangersUnknownTelevision movie
1979Like Normal PeopleJanTelevision movie
1979Swap MeetMother
1982National Lampoon's Movie MadnessThe Little Jewish Prostitute
1982Drop Out FatherTawney ShapiroTelevision movie
1982Love ChildJune Burns
1983Unlikely Stories, Vol. 2Vince's WifeTelevision movie
1984The Ratings GameFrancine KesterTelevision movie
1985Happily Ever AfterRose JohnsonVoice, Television movie
1986My Little Pony: The MovieReekaVoice
1987Stamp of a KillerClaudiaTelevision movie
1988A Family AgainAunt DeeTelevision movie
1989Two Daddies?Rose JohnsonTelevision movie
1990Enid is SleepingMavis
1990The Earth Day SpecialPaula
1991The Last HalloweenMrs. Gizborne
1991Ted and VenusGrace
1992Class ActMs. Simpson
1992There Goes the NeighborhoodLydia Nunn
1992To Grandmother's House We GoShirleyTelevision movie
1993A Place to Be LovedJerri BlairTelevision movie
1993We're Back! A Dinosaur's StoryMother BirdVoice
1994In Spite of LoveEmmaTelevision movie
1994All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever!Worm TV HostTelevision movie
1995Canadian BaconHoney
1996Sunset ParkPhyllis Saroka
1996MatildaZinnia Wormwood
1998In the DoghousePhil MarkowitzTelevision movie
1998HoudiniEstherTelevision movie
1999H-E Double Hockey SticksMrs. BeelzebubTelevision movie
2000A Tale of Two BunniesThelmaTelevision movie
2000Secret CuttingDr. ParellaTelevision movie
2000How to Marry a Billionaire: A Christmas TaleJacqueline KennedyTelevision movie
2001Old LoveUnknownShort film
2003Other People's BusinessMrs. WabashTelevision movie
2006Stroller WarsPennyTelevision movie
200610 Items Or LessMrs. D
2007BloomMaShort film
2007Love Comes LatelyRiesel
2008Cat Dragged InWoman in StreetShort film
2008The Christmas ChoirSister AgathaTelevision movie
2008Beethoven's Big BreakPatricia
2011The Trouble With BlissMaria
2011Oliver's GhostEloiseTelevision movie
2012The SessionsMikvah Lady
2012The ManzanisCamilleTelevision movie
2012The Stupidest AngelMavis


1979–1982TaxiZena Sherman5 episodes
1982–1993CheersCarla Tortelli275 episodes
American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Female in a Television Series
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1984–86, 1989)
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series
Nominated—American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Female in a Television Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1985, 1987–90, 1992)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1983, 1987–88, 1990–91, 1993)
1990The Earth Day SpecialPaula
1985St. ElsewhereCarla TortelliEpisode: "Cheers"
1986Amazing StoriesLoisEpisode: "The Wedding Ring"
1987The TortellisCarla TortelliEpisode: "Pilot"
1991BlossomThe GodmotherEpisode: "Dad's Girlfriend"
1992RocConnie MasonEpisode: "The Stan Who Came to Dinner"
1994The SimpsonsCarla TortelliEpisode: "Fear of Flying"
1995The CriticArdeth2 episodes
1996–1997PearlPearl Caraldo22 episodes
1997Union SquareMrs. Eileen MulrooneyEpisode: "Harassed"
1997Almost PerfectRhea PerlmanEpisode: " Dating for Ratings"
1999Mad About YouRamonaEpisode: "Valentine's Day"
2001Ally McBealDr. Helen ToothEpisode: "Falling Up"
2001Kate BrasherAbbie Shaeffer6 episodes
2001BeckerDr. Katherine SimmonsEpisode: "Psycho Therapy"
2002FrasierCarla TortelliEpisode: "Cheerful Goodbyes"
2002What's New, Scooby-Doo?AgnesEpisode: "A Scooby-Doo Halloween"
2003Karen SiscoLouise SalchekEpisode: "Dumb Bunnies"
2004Kevin HillEleanor FrankEpisode: "Homework"
2006CrumbsCamile SpadaroEpisode: " A Loon Again, Naturally"
2008Law and Order: Special Victims UnitRoxana FoxEpisode: "Unorthodox"
2009–2010HungVera-Joan Skagle4 episodes
2011WilfredMittensEpisode: "Compassion"
2012Hot in ClevelandJackiEpisode: "Everything Goes Better with Vampires"
2013-2014KirstieThelma12 episodes
2014"The Mindy Project"Annette CastellanoEpisode: "Annette Castellano Is My Nemesis"


  1. ^ Veromi
  2. ^ Rhea Perlman Biography (1948–)
  3. ^ NEWSMEAT ▷ Rhea Perlman's Federal Campaign Contribution Report
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Lovece, pp. 53, 80
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ a b c "Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman Separate". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ Leonard, Elizabeth (March 15, 2013). "Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman Are Back Together". People. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ "Friends of the Apollo". Oberlin College. Retrieved July 6, 2009. 

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