- NAME: Danny DeVito
- OCCUPATION: Actor, Filmmaker
- BIRTH DATE: November 17, 1944 (Age: 69)
- EDUCATION: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Grammar School, Oratory Prep High School, American Academy of Dramatic Arts
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Neptune, New Jersey
- Full Name: Daniel Michael DeVito Jr.
- AKA: Danny DeVito
- AKA: Daniel DeVito
- AKA: Daniel Michael DeVito
- ZODIAC SIGN: Scorpio
Best Known For
American actor Danny DeVito began his rise to fame on the TV show Taxi. Since then, he's starred in feature films such as Twins and Ruthless People, and on the popular show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
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Danny DeVito was born in New Jersey in 1944. Bullied as a child for his small stature, he had his big break when he starred in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). He rose to fame on the sitcom Taxi (1978-83), for which he won a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy. He later produced and directed many films, including Matilda (1996), along with his wife of more than 30 years, actress Rhea Perlman. DeVito and Perlman announced that they were splitting in October 2012.
"Hollywood is a jungle. It's full of quicksand, vermin, and flesh-eating beasts. Making a movie is not a walk in the park. Every movie is like navigating treacherous terrain."
"I worked as a car parker and I hung around the Sunset Strip with all the flower children. I had long hair and I wore a raincoat and sneakers, and I fit right in. But I wanted to act."
"This business is fun. I love it. It's the greatest business in the world."
Actor, director and producer Danny DeVito was born Daniel Michael DeVito Jr. on November 17, 1944, in Neptune, New Jersey. DeVito was raised by his mother, Julia, and his father, Danny, Sr., a small business owner whose various ventures included a dry cleaners, luncheonette, dairy outlet and pool hall. Danny, Jr. attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel Grammar School and Oratory Prep High School in Summit, New Jersey, where he first tried his hand at acting, starring in school productions of St. Francis of Assisi and the Billion Dollar Saint.
A diminutive 5-feet tall, DeVito says he longed to be taller as a youth. He recalls, "I was plagued; I couldn't slow-dance with the girls I wanted to because my face would be in a spot where I might be thought of as moving too fast." His height also made him a target for neighborhood bullies. "I took a lot of lumps," DeVito remembers. "But I had a lot of friends who helped me and looked out for me."
Although he acted in high school, when DeVito graduated in 1962 he did not consider acting a viable career path. DeVito recalls, "I wasn't sure what I wanted to do when I got out of high school. College didn't seem a likely or desirable option, and I didn't want to go too far away." DeVito was lounging around the house one day when his older sister suggested he work as a hairdresser at the salon she owned. He remembers thinking, "Well, I'm not doing anything else, and I could meet a lot of girls there."
After 18 months—and no romances—at his sister's salon, DeVito decided to switch to the more lucrative cosmetics profession. He applied to take makeup classes at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Applicants must perform a monologue to get into any of the school's programs, and after his monologue received positive feedback, DeVito decided to take acting classes as well. He quickly realized that acting was his true calling.
DeVito graduated from the American Academy in 1966, and worked briefly at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut, where he met and befriended fellow actor Michael Douglas. While in Connecticut, DeVito read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood; after seeing an advertisement for Hollywood auditions for a movie version of the book, DeVito moved to Los Angeles.
DeVito did not land a part in the film In Cold Blood, or in anything else at the start of his career. Instead, he recalls, "I worked as a car parker and I hung around the Sunset Strip with all the flower children.
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A superhero like Batman needs a legion of super villains to zap, ka-pow and wham out of Gotham City. From his first appearance in Batman comic books of the late 1930s to later television shows and films, the Caped Crusader has battled such infamous foes as "the Penguin," played by Burgess Meredith on TV and Danny DeVito on the big screen, and "the Joker," played by both Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, among others. Browse our evil lair of actors who have played some of the baddest Batman baddies.
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