Danny DeVito is one of the entertainment industry's most versatile players, excelling as actor, producer and director.
He wrote, directed and produced several short films in his early Hollywood years before emerging as a feature-length filmmaker. Dark comedic themes characterize his trademark films, including "The Ratings Game," "Throw Momma From the Train," "The War of the Roses," "Hoffa," "Death to Smoochy" and "Matilda."
DeVito recently voiced the Lorax in Universal Pictures' animated feature "The Lorax," based on the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. His voice will also be heard in the German, Russian, Spanish and Italian versions of the film.
In April, he co-starred in the London stage revival of Neil Simon's comedy "The Sunshine Boys," which follows an aging comedy duo as they reunite after years of animosity to perform one last time.
DeVito recently wrapped production on his first horror feature "The November Project," which he directed and produced.
This fall DeVito returns as 'Frank Reynolds' in the eighth season of FX's acclaimed cult comedy "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." In 2009, DeVito and the rest of the ensemble cast completed a sold-out (within minutes) nationwide tour featuring a live stage adaptation of "The Nightman Cometh." In 2010, they joined forces with Sarah Silverman and the cast of "Family Guy" for a benefit concert that raised over $300,000 for Haiti earthquake victims.
DeVito runs TheBloodFactory.com, an online collaboration with screenwriter John Albo of horror shorts he affectionately refers to as "splatter cuts." He is also the principal of Jersey Film's 2nd Avenue, a successor company of Jersey Films. Jersey Films has produced over 20 motion pictures, including "Freedom Writers," "Be Cool," "Garden State," "Along Came Polly," "Man on the Moon," "Pulp Fiction," "Out of Sight," "Get Shorty," "Hoffa," "Matilda," "Living Out Loud" and "Erin Brockovich" (which was nominated for an Academy Award).
Two films co-starring DeVito won the Academy Award for best picture ("One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Terms of Endearment"), but it was the part of 'Louie De Palma' on the television show "Taxi" that propelled him to national prominence. He won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the role. In a 1999 readers' poll conducted by TV Guide, DeVito's 'Louie De Palma' was voted number one among "TV's Fifty Greatest Characters Ever."
Apart from his work with Jersey Films, DeVito has starred in such films as "Junior," "Batman Returns," "Twins," "Romancing the Stone," "Jewel of the Nile," "Ruthless People," "Tin Men," "Anything Else," "Big Fish," "Renaissance Man," "The Big Kahuna" and "Heist." He starred more recently in "The Good Night," "Deck The Halls," "Relative Strangers," "The OH in Ohio," "Be Cool," "Nobel Son" and "Even Money."
DeVito attended Our Lady of Mt. Carmel grammar school and Oratory Prep School in Summit, N.J., but appeared in only one school play, as St. Francis of Assisi. After graduation, he pursued several odd jobs, always with the idea of acting in the back of his mind.
He finally entered the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. "They had fencing and a speech class," he said mockingly, "So you don't talk funny."
Unable to get work, Danny bought a round-trip ticket and headed to Hollywood. After years of unemployment, he returned to New York. He called an old friend and former American Academy professor who, coincidentally, had been seeking him out for a starring role in one of three one-act plays presented together under the title of "The Man With the Flower in His Mouth."
Soon Danny was into big money ($60 a week), and other stage performances followed. Among his credits were "Down the Morning Line," "The Line of Least Existence," "The Shrinking Bride" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
In 1975, under a grant from the American Film Institute, Danny and his wife, actress Rhea Perlman, wrote and produced "Minestrone," which has been shown twice at the Cannes Film Festival and has been translated into five languages. Later they wrote and produced a 16-millimeter black-and-white short subject, "The Sound Sleeper," which won first prize at the Brooklyn Arts and Cultural Association competition.
DeVito carries his success well. Never forgetting that there were more difficult times, he maintains a healthy sense of perspective. As "Taxi" character 'Louie DePalma', would say, "If you don't do good today, you'll be eatin' dirt tomorrow."