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Daniel Michael "Danny" DeVito, Jr. (born November 17, 1944) is an Americanmarker actor, director and producer, who first gained prominence for his portrayal of "Louie De Palma" on the ABC and NBC TV series Taxi (1978–1983). DeVito and his wife, Rhea Perlman, founded Jersey Films, a production company known for films such as Pulp Fiction, Garden State, and Freedom Writers. He also owns Jersey Television, which produced the Comedy Central series Reno 911!. DeVito currently stars as Frank Reynolds on the FX sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Early life

DeVito was born in Neptune, New Jersey, the son of Julia, a homemaker, and Daniel Michael DeVito, Sr., who owned several small businesses, including a dry cleaning store, a dairy outlet, a luncheonette, and a pool hall. DeVito is of Italian descent and was raised a Roman Catholic, growing up in Asbury Parkmarker. He boarded at Oratory Preparatory Schoolmarker, in Summit, New Jerseymarker, graduating in 1961. DeVito trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood, California, where he graduated in 1966.

Actor

DeVito played Martini in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, reprising his role from the 1971 off-Broadway play. DeVito gained fame in 1978 on the hit TV show Taxi as Louie De Palma, the dispatcher for the fictional Sunshine Cab Company. After Taxi ended, DeVito continued what became a successful movie career, beginning with a role in 1983's Terms of Endearment and the comic rogue in the romantic adventure Romancing the Stone, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. All three reprised their roles in the 1985 sequel, The Jewel of the Nile. In 1986, he was in Ruthless People with Bette Midler and Judge Reinhold. In 1987, DeVito made his feature directing debut on dark comedy Throw Momma from the Train, in which he additionally starred, opposite Billy Crystal and Anne Ramsey. Two years later DeVito reunited with Douglas and Turner to direct and star with them in The War of the Roses.

Movie poster for Batman Returns (1992) featuring Danny DeVito as the Penguin
Other notable work during this time includes Other People's Money with legend Gregory Peck, director Barry Levinson's Tin Men as a competitive rival salesman to Richard Dreyfuss's character, two co-starring vehicles with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the comedies Twins and Junior, and the villain The Penguin in director Tim Burton's Batman Returns (1992). It is said that Jack Nicholson convinced DeVito to play The Penguin since Nicholson enjoyed great success as The Joker in the original Batman from 1989. Rather than portraying the villain as a suave and sophisticated gangster as he was in the comics, DeVito portrayed him as a deformed psychopath.

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, L.A. Confidential, The Big Kahuna and Heist (2001), as a gangster nemesis to Gene Hackman.

DeVito has a passion for documentaries. In 2006, he began a partnership with Morgan Freeman's company ClickStar, on which he hosts a documentary channel called Jersey Docs.

Since 2006, DeVito has joined as a cast member on the FX Networks television series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, portraying Frank Reynolds.

Producer

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 movie about the unusual life of his former Taxi co-star, Andy Kaufman.

DeVito produced the Comedy Central series Reno 911! as well as the movie spin off Reno 911!: Miami.

Director

DeVito has directed six motion pictures:

His films often have a bizarre, neo-surrealistic sensibility and gallows humor, though this was absent in the straightforward Hoffa biopic. This approach served him well at times, especially in The War of the Roses which was a commercial and critical success, as well as Matilda where it matched the style of Roald Dahl's witty story of a young girl and a strict teacher; however his last two films have not been nearly as successful.

Television and voice over work

In addition to his Taxi work, DeVito has voiced Herb Powell, Homer Simpson's half-brother, on two episodes of The Simpsons. In 1997, he was the voice of the goatman named Philoctetes from the 1997 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, an episode of Friends, 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.

Personal life

DeVito married actress Rhea Perlman in 1982. They have three children: Lucy Chet DeVito (born March 1983), Grace Fan DeVito (born March 1985) and Jacob Daniel DeVito (born October 1987). The family lives in Beverly Hills, Californiamarker, and has a vacation home in Interlaken, New Jerseymarker. He is an outspoken Democrat, and a supporter of the OneVoice Movement, a non-profit organization that strives to help moderate Israelismarker and Palestinians to take a more assertive role in resolving the conflict. He is also a member of the steering committee of the Friends of the Apollo, along with his wife and filmmaker Jonathan Demme. DeVito has stated that despite what websites such as IMDb have claimed, he is not a vegetarian and that he does eat meat.

DeVito has part of his family living in New Canaan, Connecticutmarker. He co-owns a restaurant called DeVito South Beach in Miami Beach, Floridamarker. His daughter Lucy starred as Anne Frank in a production of Anne Frank at the INTIMAN Theatre in Seattle, Washington, in 2008.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1971 Lady Liberty Fred Mancuso
1973 Hurry Up, Or I'll Be 30 Petey Also known as I Am Waiting No More
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Martini
1978 Goin' South Hog, Moon's Old Gang
1981 Going Ape! Lazlo
1983 Terms of Endearment Vernon Dahlart
1984 Romancing the Stone Ralph
The Ratings Game Vic De Salvo Showtime Directing debut
Johnny Dangerously Burr
1985 The Jewel of the Nile Ralph
Head Office
1986 Wise Guys Harry Valentini
Ruthless People Sam Stone Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
My Little Pony: The Movie The Grundle King Voice
1987 Throw Momma from the Train Owen Lift Director

Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Tin Men Ernest Tilley
1988 Twins Vincent Benedict
1989 The War of the Roses Gavin D'Amato Director

Nominated — Golden Bear
1991 Other People's Money Larry Garfield
1992 Batman Returns The Penguin Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Hoffa Bobby Ciaro Producer, Director

Nominated — Golden Bear
1993 Jack the Bear John Leary
Last Action Hero Whiskers Voice, Uncredited
1994 Reality Bites N/A Producer
Junior Dr. Larry Arbogast
Pulp Fiction N/A Executive producer
Renaissance Man Bill Rago
1995 Get Shorty Martin Weir Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1996 Mars Attacks! Rude Gambler
Matilda Harry Wormwood Director, Producer, Narrator

Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Space Jam Mr. Swackhammer Voice
1997 The Rainmaker Deck Shifflet Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Gattaca N/A Producer
Hercules Philoctetes Voice
L.A. Confidential Sid Hudgens Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1998 Living Out Loud Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
1999 The Big Kahuna Phil Cooper
Man on the Moon George Shapiro Producer
The Virgin Suicides Dr. Hornicker
2000 Drowning Mona Wyatt Rash
Erin Brockovich N/A Producer

Nominated — Academy Award for Best Picture

Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Picture
How High N/A Producer
Screwed Grover Cleaver
2001 Heist Bergman
What's the Worst That Could Happen? Max Fairbanks
2002 Austin Powers in Goldmember Mini-Me Cameo in film "Austinpussy"
Death to Smoochy Burke Bennet Director
2003 Anything Else Harvey Wexler
Big Fish Amos Calloway
Camp N/A Producer
Duplex N/A Director and Narrator (aka Our House in UK)
2004 Christmas in Love Brad LaGuardia
Garden State N/A Producer
2005 Be Cool Martin Weir
Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School Booth
2006 Relative Strangers Frank Menure
Even Money Walter
The Oh in Ohio Wayne
Deck the Halls Buddy Hall
2007 The Good Night Mel
Reno 911!: Miami District Attorney Also producer
Just Add Water Merl
Nobel Son Gastner
2009 No Place Like Home Cathkart post-production
Solitary Man post-production
2010 When in Rome TBA post-production


References

  1. Danny DeVito Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  2. Danny DeVito Biography (1944-)
  3. Reel.com: Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito
  4. 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)."
  5. The Penguin (Danny DeVito)
  6. Danny DeVito Movie Box Office Results
  7. Monmouth County, New Jersey Tax Assessor's Office property record for Danny De Vito and Rhea Perlman
  8. Livin’ DeVito Loco

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