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Only True Danny DeVito Fans Know These Facts About The Comedy Legend

Whether you first discovered him at the start of his career with "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Taxi," through '80s and '90s blockbusters like "Twins" and "Batman Returns," or in his late career renaissance powered by "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," Danny DeVito is an actor who instantly makes a strong impression. The short-statured New Jersey native, who directs and produces as well as acts, is a master of dark comedy and an expert at playing villains, sleaze-bags, and other types of  jerks — all while seemingly being an incredibly likable person in real life.

Having worked as an actor on stage since the '60s and in film and television since the '70s, DeVito's credits are numerous, and stories about his colorful character are plentiful. The following pieces of trivia from throughout his career (and in some cases, before he even had a career!) help paint a picture of the man's wide range of experiences, what he's willing to do for his art, and what he cares about in the world.

He was Michael Douglas' roommate

Danny DeVito and Michael Douglas have worked together multiple times. Douglas produced "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," the first major hit film DeVito acted in, and the two have co-starred in such films as "Romancing the Stone" and "War of the Roses," the latter of which DeVito directed.

These two actors aren't merely collaborators, but have a friendship that's lasted for over 50 years (via The List). They first met as acting students in 1967, bonded over a joint, and soon became roommates. As reported in the New York Daily News, DeVito remembers Douglas handling laundry duties and Douglas remembers DeVito being "sloppy" but a "great roommate" and that early part of their careers as "a magical time." 

DeVito has embellished some stories about their friendship over the years. In 2018, while promoting the animated film "Smallfoot," he claimed he sucked snake venom out of Douglas' leg on the set of "Romancing the Stone," saving his co-star's life (via People). In a 2022 Vanity Fair YouTube video where in Danny and his daughter Lucy DeVito took lie detector tests together, Danny was caught and admitted the snake venom story was a fabrication.

He used to be a hairdresser - for dead people

"Danny DeVito" and "hair" might not be things you typically associate with each other. He was already in the early stages of balding during the run of "Taxi" from 1978-1983, and since then, he's totally owned the bald look. However, before his acting career got off the ground, Danny DeVito not only had a full head of hair, but worked as a hairdresser and beautician.

Danny DeVito revealed on a 1986 episode of "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson" that after high school, he attended the Wilfred Academy of Hairdressing and was hired by his older sister Angela, who ran a beauty parlor. He specialized in beehive hairdos. On a 2010 episode of "Lopez Tonight," DeVito elaborated on this surprising part of his backstory, revealing that not only did he style hair for living clients, but also dead ones. "My sister had a particular clientele," he explained. "There were young people who went and got their hair cut and colored and all that stuff, and then there's the old ladies who lived down the shore... and what happens after you get really old? You pass, baby! [And when you pass] you wanna have a nice hairdo! Somebody's gotta come through!"

He helped Quentin Tarantino make Pulp Fiction

Danny DeVito's production company Jersey Films has produced not only star vehicles for its founder, but also other films, including "Gattaca," "Erin Brockovich," and "Pulp Fiction." That last film, on which DeVito has a credit as executive producer, came about due to DeVito's strong positive first impressions of writer-director Quentin Tarantino. DeVito told The Guardian, "I hadn't seen Quentin direct or act. I hadn't even seen 'Reservoir Dogs' when I bought his next project, which wasn't even written. It was just about him. I liked the way he was talking about it. The guy was just so cool. It seemed simple to me."

Jersey Films had a first look deal with TriStar Pictures at the time, but as reported in Vanity Fair's 2013 oral history of the "Pulp Fiction" production, the studio passed on the script due to fears of backlash over its bursts of extreme violence. All the other major studios passed, but DeVito brought it to Miramax, which took a chance on the edgy screenplay, and the rest is cinematic history (let's choose to overlook the now-extremely cringeworthy section of the Vanity Fair article where DeVito calls Harvey Weinstein "the king").

He cared for Mara Wilson when her mom died

In 1996, Danny DeVito directed a film adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic children's book "Matilda." He starred in the movie as Matilda's abusive father Harry Wormwood, while his then-wife Rhea Perlman played Matilda's neglectful mother Zinnia Wormwood. Though Harry and Zinnia are terrible to their daughter in the film, DeVito and Perlman were, by all accounts, the most supportive adults possible when Matilda actress Mara Wilson was dealing with her real mother Suzie's death from cancer.

As reported in People, the "Matilda" set offered comfort to 8-year-old Mara Wilson during an extremely tough time in her life. Sometimes she stayed at DeVito and Perlman's house with their three children. In an Entertainment Tonight interview celebrating the film's 25th anniversary, Wilson said DeVito was "like a lot of the people in my family, just full of good stories and a good sense of humor... but also very considerate and he thought a lot about other people," going on to describe him as "kind of my favorite uncle." Mara Wilson revealed in her memoir "Where Am I Now?" that DeVito screened a rough cut of the film to Suzie before she died, and dedicated the finished film to her as well (via Express).

He voiced The Lorax in five languages

Illumination's computer-animated feature film adaptation of "The Lorax" received mixed reviews, with many critics writing that the expanded movie adaptation failed to capture the soul of the original Dr. Seuss book. One aspect of the movie that was spot-on to the source material, however, was the casting of The Lorax with "a voice that was sharpish and bossy." That voice, of course, being that of Danny DeVito. DeVito's casting was so perfect that he didn't only voice this environmental steward in the original English version, but multiple dubs in other languages as well.

Specifically, DeVito voiced The Lorax in the French, German, Russian, and two Spanish dubs (one for Spain, one for Latin America). When asked in an interview with Entertainment Weekly whether he was fluent in any of these languages before, he answered, "I don't speak any of the languages. I speak a little Italian, but just enough to get around in Italy, like to order food. But I could be laughed at in a second." As for how he pulled off acting in languages he didn't know, "They would give me two coaches and an editor, all from the country, and I'd go to the studio and we would dig in. We'd do it phonetically and I'd learn how to say the lines so that they felt I didn't have an accent."

He LOVES doing nude scenes

Danny DeVito has done a lot of nude scenes, particularly when playing Frank Reynolds in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." He crawled out of a couch completely naked in Season 7's "A Very Sunny Christmas," got inexplicably trapped at a playground in his underwear in Season 9's "Mac and Dennis Buy a Timeshare," and drenched his full body in hand sanitizer in Season 9's "The Gang Gets Quarantined." His collaborations with Tim Burton have also featured brief moments of nudity, with a werewolf transformation in "Big Fish" and a moment in the bathtub in "Dumbo."

It seems DeVito enjoys taking his clothes off onscreen so much that he told Collider the bathtub scene was specifically what sold him on acting in the live-action "Dumbo" remake. A New York Times profile quoted him as saying, "I'm no Willem Dafoe, I'm not shy about taking my clothes off." (The Dafoe comparison will make sense to those who saw him in "The Northman" or read about the making of "Antichrist.") This utter body confidence and complete lack of shyness might be one of the reasons why, despite not being considered conventionally attractive, DeVito has become something of a sex symbol in certain circles.

He directed Vimeo's first Staff Pick Premiere

Danny DeVito hasn't directed a feature film since the 2003 flop "Duplex," but he returned to the director's chair for a truly wonderful short film in 2016 titled "Curmudgeons." Written by Joshua Conkel, the short is adapted from the writer's one-act play of the same name, which was brought to Danny's attention by his daughter Lucy (via RogerEbert.com). Danny's son Jake was also involved in the short as a producer, making this a true family collaboration.

"Curmudgeons" is a gay romcom set in an assisted living facility, wherein two foul-mouthed old men (played by David Marguiles and Danny DeVito) propose to one another with the help of their grandchildren (played by Lucy DeVito and Kett Turton). It made its worldpremiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, a few months after Marguiles, who originated the character of Ralph in the original one-act play, passed away at the age of 88. Released for streaming on Vimeo, the short was selected as the site's first Staff Pick Premiere.

He doesn't know what Pokemon is

Almost as soon as the "Pokémon" spinoff game "Detective Pikachu" was announced, the fans demanded that this English-speaking mystery-solving electric rodent be voiced by none other than Danny DeVito. An edit of the video game's trailer using DeVito's dialogue from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" went viral with over 1.6 million views on YouTube, and a Change.org petition addressed to Nintendo and Game Freak demanding DeVito be cast as Detective Pikachu received over 50,000 signatures.

DeVito, for his part, shut down the possibility of him dubbing the video game at a Paley Center panel with the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" cast in April 2016. His answer to a fan's question not only expressed a lack of interest, but an apparent lack of knowledge; as the Paley Center tweeted out, DeVito asked "What the F is 'Pokémon?'" While it might have been a comical exaggeration to claim he knew nothing of the monstrously popular pocket monster franchise, it's fair to assume it's simply not in his wheelhouse of knowledge.

Of course, the "DeVito as Detective Pikachu" campaign gained a second life a few months after this panel when it was announced the game was being made into a live-action movie. According to Nerdist, the film's visual effects producer Greg Baxter did in fact test out how DeVito's voice would fit their CGI Pikachu, but the filmmakers ultimately decided Ryan Reynolds was the best fit.

He almost died eating eggs on Broadway

After acting in off-Broadway plays early in his career, Danny DeVito made his Broadway acting debut in the 2017 revival of the Arthur Miller play "The Price." DeVito played the comical role of antique dealer Gregory Solomon, acting alongside Tony Shalhoub, Jessica Hecht, and Mark Ruffalo. One attention-grabbing scene in the play required DeVito to eat a whole hard-boiled egg, without water or salt, while simultaneously continuing to deliver lines.

Page Six claimed that eating so many eggs nearly killed DeVito. The actor is quoted as saying, "I never got sick of eating eggs — I mean, that was like, Arthur Miller wrote that! But in the very beginning in the previews, I was eating the whole egg, and the first couple nights, you know how it is eating a whole hard-boiled egg. So I started eating just one half of the egg, and it worked out better. I threw the other half of the egg in the bag — it saved my life and got

an extra laugh."

Even before this allegedly life-risking performance, DeVito was associated with eggs thanks to some memorable gags from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." In the sitcom, Frank Reynolds makes green-dyed "Paddy's Eggs," and once offered "an egg in this trying time."

His relationship with Rhea Perlman has shifted

Rhea Perlman first met Danny DeVito after seeing him play a stable boy in the 1971 off-Broadway play "The Shrinking Bride" (via People). Getting dinner after the show, the two instantly hit it off and moved in together two weeks after meeting. DeVito and Perlman would go on to play boyfriend and girlfriend Louie and Zena in "Taxi," and in 1982, the same year "Taxi" concluded, they officially got married.

The couple has had three kids together and has co-starred in multiple projects. They separated twice, first in 2012 and again in 2017, but never officially got divorced. Despite the end of their romantic relationship, the two still consider each other friends. In a 2019 episode of "Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen," Perlman addressed the end of their relationship by saying "40 years is a long time, you might have to do something else," and that they had actually become closer since splitting than they were in their last five years as a couple, noting, "All the tense stuff is gone."

He's a self-described Democratic socialist

Politically, Danny DeVito is decidedly to the left of most celebrities, describing himself as either a "Democratic Socialist" or a "social Democrat" in varying interviews. He endorsed and campaigned for the democratic socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in both the 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. In a 2016 Guardian profile, he described Sanders and the UK's former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as "the only shining lights we have right now."

In a 2018 interview with The Daily Beast, DeVito has also expressed excitement about another Democratic Socialist politician, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while having some harsh words to say about the mainstream wing of the Democratic Party, calling them "clowns." As for his particular stances on what issues matter most to him, he said, "I love to see people thinking about universal healthcare, education for everybody, working on the environment, retooling our industries so we're giving jobs to people to create sustainable energy systems."

He's always posting foot pics on Twitter

Danny DeVito has developed a distinctive brand on Twitter. Browse his account @DannyDeVito and you'll see the expected promotions for film and TV projects he's involved in, as well as news and opinions about the political causes he cares about, but if you want to know about his strangest claim to social media fame, click the "Media" tab on his account and you'll be exposed to tons and tons of photos of DeVito's feet. He told The Guardian in 2016, "There's no explanation, except it's me and my foot. And you guys will look at it!"

The actor has dubbed his foot in these images "trollfoot." This could be a reference to the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" musical episode "The Nightman Cometh," wherein DeVito's character Frank Reynolds acts as a troll who demands the Nightman pay the "troll toll" to get into... something he does a comically bad job pronouncing. It could also just be a reference to the general internet concept of "trolling." Using your professional social media to post pictures of your feet in different locations might not be mean in the way trolling is usually thought of as, but it is an absurd running gag that only someone like DeVito could successfully pull off.