Nov. 17th, 1944
Neptune Township, New Jersey, USA
Danny DeVito's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Daniel Michael "Danny" DeVito, Jr. (born November 17, 1944) is an American actor, comedian, director, and producer.
Born in Neptune Township, New Jersey, the son of Julia (née Moccello), a homemaker, and Daniel DeVito, Sr. DeVito grew up in a family of five, with his parents and two older sisters. DeVito is of Italian descent and grew up in Asbury Park. 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.
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.
In 1968, DeVito landed his first part in a movie when he appeared as a thug in the obscure Dreams of Glass (1970). Despite this minor triumph, DeVito became discouraged with the film industry and decided to focus on stage productions.
He made his Off-Broadway debut in 1969 in The Man With the Flower in His Mouth. He followed this up with stage roles in The Shrinking Bride, and Lady Liberty.
In 1975, he was approached by director 'Milos Forman' and 'Michael Douglas' about appearing in the film version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), which would star 'Jack Nicholson' in the leading role. With box office success almost guaranteed and a chance for national exposure, DeVito agreed to the role. The movie became a huge hit, both critically and financially, and still ranks today as one the greatest movies of all time.
Unfortunately, the movie did very little to assist DeVito's career. In the years following, he was relegated to small movie roles and guest appearances on television shows.
His big break came in 1978 when he auditioned for a role on an ABC sitcom pilot called Taxi (1978), which centered around taxi cab drivers at a New York City garage. DeVito auditioned for the role of dispatcher Louie DePalma. At the audition, the producers told DeVito that he needed to show more attitude in order to get the part. He then slammed down the script and yelled, "Who wrote this sh**?" The producers, realizing he was perfect for the part, brought him on board.
The show was a huge success, running from 1978 to 1983. Louie DePalma, played flawlessly by DeVito, became one of the most memorable (and reviled) characters in television history. While he was universally hated by TV viewers, he was well-praised by critics, winning an Emmy award and being nominated three other times.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, DeVito maintained his status as a great character actor with memorable roles in movies like Romancing the Stone (1984), Ruthless People (1986), Throw Momma from the Train (1987) and Twins (1988). He also had a great deal of success behind the camera, directing movies like The War of the Roses (1989) and Hoffa (1992).
In 1992, DeVito was introduced to a new generation of moviegoers when he was given the role of The Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot in Tim Burton's highly successful Batman Returns (1992). This earned him a nomination for Best Villain at the MTV Movie Awards.
That same year, along with his wife 'Rhea Perlman', DeVito co-founded Jersey Films, which has produced many popular films and TV shows, including Pulp Fiction (1994), Get Shorty (1995), Man on the Moon (1999) and Erin Brockovich (2000).
Despite being a diminutive 5' tall, overweight and balding, DeVito has managed to overcome long odds to become one of Hollywood's most versatile actors. These days, he continues to work with many of today's top talents.
DeVito met actress 'Rhea Perlman' on January 17, 1971. They moved in together two weeks after meeting. The couple married (January 28, 1982). They have three children: 'Lucy Chet DeVito' (b. March 11, 1983), Grace Fan DeVito (b. March 1985), and Jacob Daniel DeVito (b. October 1987). DeVito and Perlman separated in October 2012 after 30 years of marriage and over 40 years together. However, in March 2013, it was reported that they had reconciled and called off the separation. The family resides in Beverly Hills, California, and also spend time at their vacation home in Interlaken, New Jersey.
- Cousin of filmmaker Jonathan M. Parisen.
- Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 136-137. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
- Was considered for the role of George Costanza in _"Seinfeld" (1990)_ (qv).
- A staunch supporter of The Democratic Party.
- In his New Jersey hometown, one of his relatives ran a hair salon with the relatives of another actor from his neighborhood, 'Jack Nicholson' (qv).
- Attended the final 'Phish' (qv) concert with his son and 75,000 others in Coventry, Vermont on August 16, 2004.
- Son-in-law of 'Philip Perlman' (qv).
- In 1975, under a grant from the American Film Institute, he and 'Rhea Perlman' (qv) wrote and produced 'Minestrone', which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and has been translated into five languages.