emmys.com
emmys.com
 
Danny DeVito: Actor, Director, and Producer Extraordinaire
User avatar
Curated by
cdteliot
6 min read
1 month ago
184
Danny DeVito is a versatile American actor, director, and producer who has amassed an impressive body of work spanning film, television, and theater over his decades-long career.

 

DeVito's Early Life and Upbringing

njmonthly.com
njmonthly.com
Danny DeVito was born Daniel Michael DeVito Jr. on November 17, 1944, in Neptune Township, New Jersey. He grew up in an Italian-American Catholic household, where his father Daniel DeVito Sr. owned a small business and his mother Julia (née Moccello) was a homemaker. DeVito attended private schools while growing up in Asbury Park, including Our Lady of Mount Carmel grammar school and Oratory Prep School, from which he graduated in 1962. After high school, he initially took a job as a cosmetician at his sister Angela's beauty salon. A year later in 1963, DeVito enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York to learn more about cosmetology. However, while studying at the academy, he fell in love with acting and decided to pursue an acting career instead. It was during this time that he met fellow aspiring actor Michael Douglas at the National Playwrights Conference in Waterford, Connecticut - the two would later go on to collaborate on numerous projects. DeVito also met actress Rhea Perlman while at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. The couple fell in love, moved in together, and eventually married in 1982. They have three children together: Lucy, Grace, and Jacob. DeVito and Perlman have starred alongside each other in several projects, including as Matilda's parents in the 1996 film adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel.
nationaltoday.com favicon
rottentomatoes.com favicon
imdb.com favicon
5 sources

 

DeVito's Breakthrough Role in Taxi

slashfilm.com
slashfilm.com
Danny DeVito's breakthrough role came in 1978 when he was cast as the grouchy cab dispatcher Louie De Palma on the hit TV sitcom Taxi. DeVito had an unconventional audition for the part. As he recalled to Larry King, "I wanted to really make an impression, so I walk into the office… I take a step in and say: 'One thing I want to know before we start – who wrote this shit?' and threw the script on the table." His brash approach worked and he landed the role. Taxi revolved around the lives of a group of eccentric New York City cab drivers working for the fictional Sunshine Cab Company. The show ran for five seasons from 1978 to 1983 and was a critical and commercial success, winning 18 Primetime Emmy Awards. DeVito's portrayal of the despicable yet somehow lovable Louie De Palma was a standout. With his short stature, balding head, and thick New Jersey accent, DeVito fully embodied the role of the tyrannical dispatcher who tormented the cab drivers with glee. He won an Emmy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance on the show. Taxi launched DeVito into stardom and paved the way for his successful film career. His co-stars from the show also went on to become major stars, including Judd Hirsch, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, and Andy Kaufman. Over 40 years later, the cast still reunites occasionally, a testament to the enduring popularity and impact of the groundbreaking sitcom.
chortle.co.uk favicon
brightside.me favicon
womansworld.com favicon
5 sources

Versatile Actor and Filmmaker

fxnetworks.com
fxnetworks.com
broadway.com
broadway.com
imdb.com
imdb.com

 

Danny DeVito's Filmography

Danny DeVito has an extensive filmography spanning over five decades. The following table highlights some of his most notable acting roles:
FilmYearRole
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest1975Martini
Taxi (TV series)1978-1983Louie De Palma
Romancing the Stone1984Ralph
Ruthless People1986Sam Stone
Throw Momma from the Train1987Owen / Narrator
Twins1988Vincent Benedict
Batman Returns1992Oswald Cobblepot / The Penguin
Get Shorty1995Martin Weir
Matilda1996Harry Wormwood / Narrator
L.A. Confidential1997Sid Hudgens
Man on the Moon1999George Shapiro
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (TV series)2006-presentFrank Reynolds
DeVito has also directed and produced numerous films through his production company Jersey Films, which he co-founded with Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher in 1991. Some of the notable films produced by Jersey Films include Pulp Fiction (1994), Get Shorty (1995), Erin Brockovich (2000), and Garden State (2004). DeVito's directing credits include Throw Momma from the Train (1987), The War of the Roses (1989), Hoffa (1992), and Matilda (1996).
en.wikipedia.org favicon
en.wikipedia.org favicon
rottentomatoes.com favicon
5 sources

 

Danny DeVito's Awards and Accolades

Danny DeVito has received numerous accolades throughout his prolific career in film and television. The following table highlights some of his most notable awards and nominations:
AwardCategoryWorkResult
Academy AwardsBest PictureErin Brockovich (2000)Nominated
Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy SeriesTaxi (1981)Won
Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy SeriesFriends (2004)Nominated
Golden Globe AwardsBest Supporting Actor - TelevisionTaxi (1980)Won
Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor - Motion Picture Musical or ComedyThrow Momma from the Train (1987)Nominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Cast in a Motion PictureGet Shorty (1996), L.A. Confidential (1998)Nominated
Tony AwardsBest Featured Actor in a PlayThe Price (2017)Nominated
DeVito's performance as Louie De Palma on the sitcom Taxi earned him both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also received Golden Globe nominations for his leading roles in the films Ruthless People (1987) and Throw Momma from the Train (1987). In 2000, DeVito was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture as a producer of Erin Brockovich. He has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his television work. In 2017, DeVito earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his Broadway debut in The Price.
en.wikipedia.org favicon
www2.gvsu.edu favicon
imdb.com favicon
5 sources

Revealing DeVito Interview Insights

youtube.com
youtube.com
Watch
Danny DeVito Answers the Web's Most Searched Questions | WIRED
Danny DeVito...
Watch

 

Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds: A Career-Defining Role on 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'

ew.com
ew.com
Danny DeVito's most iconic television role in recent years has been as Frank Reynolds on the long-running FX/FXX sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He joined the cast in 2006 during the show's second season, playing the hilariously unhinged father of Dennis and Dee Reynolds. Frank is a shameless, depraved, and utterly charismatic character who frequently instigates the gang's misadventures and illegal schemes. DeVito's uninhibited and committed portrayal has earned Frank a cult following, with lines like "I'm the Trash Man!" and "I got to have my tools!" becoming ingrained in pop culture. The role was loosely inspired by the eccentric father of producer Scott Marder, who was described as "a live-action Homer Simpson." DeVito collaborated closely with the creators to shape Frank's outrageous personality and antics over the show's 16 seasons and counting. His chemistry with co-stars like Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, and Kaitlin Olson has kept It's Always Sunny fresh and unpredictable. DeVito's performance as Frank Reynolds showcases his versatility and improvisational skills honed over decades in the industry. It has introduced the veteran actor to a new generation of fans and cemented his status as an enduring comedic talent.
imdb.com favicon
collider.com favicon
youtube.com favicon
5 sources

 

DeVito's Marriage and Family

people.com
people.com
Danny DeVito has been married to actress Rhea Perlman since 1982. The couple met in 1971 when Perlman went to see DeVito perform in the play "The Shrinking Bride" and moved in together just two weeks later. They have three children together - daughters Lucy (born 1983) and Grace (born 1985), and son Jacob (born 1987). DeVito and Perlman have frequently collaborated professionally, co-starring in projects like the TV series Taxi and the film Matilda, where they played the parents of the title character. Though they separated briefly in 2012 and 2017, they have remained amicable and consider each other close friends. In addition to his acting work, DeVito is involved in various philanthropic causes. He supports several charities focused on children, including the Intensive Therapeutic Residential Treatment Program at the Children's Institute in Los Angeles and the Cure Autism Now foundation. DeVito has also participated in fundraising efforts for the United Nations' World Food Programme to combat global hunger.
last.fm favicon
people.com favicon
biography.com favicon
5 sources

 

Closing Thoughts

Danny DeVito's breakout role as the cantankerous dispatcher Louie De Palma on the hit sitcom Taxi in the late 1970s and early 80s cemented his status as one of the most distinctive and memorable character actors of his generation. While diminutive in stature at 4'10", DeVito commanded the screen with his gruff voice, expressive face, and unparalleled comedic timing. Over the following decades, DeVito continued to shine in a range of iconic character roles across popular films like Romancing the Stone, Twins alongside lifelong friend Arnold Schwarzenegger, Batman Returns as the Penguin, Get Shorty, and Man on the Moon. His ability to blend pathos and humor made him a perfect fit for quirky, off-beat parts that added texture to any project. In the 21st century, DeVito reinvented himself as one of America's most beloved comedians by joining the cast of the subversive sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as the debauched, morally bankrupt Frank Reynolds. His fearless commitment to the outrageous character over 16 seasons has earned DeVito a new generation of fans and critical acclaim. Whether stealing scenes in classic films or anchoring edgy television series, Danny DeVito's prolific career has spanned over five decades of memorable performances. An undisputed master of character acting, he remains one of Hollywood's most unique and essential talents.
movieweb.com favicon
957benfm.com favicon
rottentomatoes.com favicon
5 sources
Related
what are some of the most iconic roles played by 21st-century American comedians
how did Danny DeVito's breakout role in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" influence his career
what are some of the most memorable characters created by 21st-century American comedians
Keep Reading