Rhea Perlman

Rhea Perlman

Perlman in August 2011
Born Rhea Jo Perlman[1]
(1948-03-31) March 31, 1948
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Occupation Actress
Years active 1972–present
Height 5'0"
Spouse(s) Danny DeVito (m. 1982)
Children Lucy DeVito
Grace Fan DeVito
Jacob Daniel DeVito

Rhea Jo Perlman (born March 31, 1948) is an American actress, best known for her role as Carla Tortelli in the sitcom Cheers, for which she won four Emmy Awards.

Early life

Perlman was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Philip (1919-2015) and Adele Perlman. Her father was an actor and a "doll and toy-part" salesman; he later played barfly Phil on Cheers.[2] Her sister Heide Perlman was a writer, story editor, and producer on the television shows Cheers and Frasier. Rhea Perlman attended Hunter College in New York and is an active Democrat.[3]

She began her acting career in 1972 when she played a bit role in the film Hot Dogs for Gauguin. That same year she appeared in Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective's production of Up – An Uppity Revue, along with her future husband, Danny DeVito.


Perlman at the 1988 Emmy Awards

Perlman began acting in the early 1970s with numerous appearances on TV films and short films. One of her first notable parts was a recurring role on the television show Taxi as Zena, girlfriend of Louie De Palma (played by Danny DeVito).

In 1982 she landed a role as Carla Tortelli on the hit sitcom Cheers. She won the Emmy four times, in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1989. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe six times. During her Cheers career, she was nominated for an Emmy every year but 1992, becoming the Cheers star to have the most wins and nominations.

In 1986, Perlman starred in an episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories titled "The Wedding Ring," which also starred DeVito as her character's husband.

In the 1990s, Perlman starred in several TV movies and motion pictures. In 1992, she starred in the made-for-TV-movie, To Grandmother's House We Go versus Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen, playing the wife of Jerry Van Dyke's character; the couple kidnapped the Olsen Twins' characters, hoping to cash in on ransom before Christmas. Other TV films in which she starred included the dramas A Place to Be Loved and In Spite of Love.

Perlman's motion picture roles included There Goes The Neighborhood (1992), Canadian Bacon (1995), Carpool (1996), Sunset Park (1996), and Matilda (1996). She had a cameo in the film 10 Items Or Less (2006), and also starred in the 2007 independent film Love Comes Lately.

In 1994, Perlman voiced 9-Eye in The Timekeeper, a Circle-Vision show at the Magic Kingdom in Tomorrowland.

She later starred in the 1996 sitcom Pearl as the title character and was featured on the 2001 TV drama Kate Brasher. Among her notable guest appearances was on the season 4 premiere of Becker, which starred Cheers co-star Ted Danson.

Perlman also appeared in a 2000 television film How to Marry a Billionaire: A Christmas Tale, in which she impersonated Jacqueline Kennedy. She also portrayed a therapist called Dr. Parella in the 2000 film Secret Cutting, which follows the story of a young girl named Dawn who self-injures. In 2007, Perlman appeared as Bertha in the West End of London in the comedy Boeing Boeing. In 2008, she starred in the Hallmark Channel original movie, The Christmas Choir, and appeared in Beethoven's Big Break in 2008 as Patricia Benji. In 2009 she appeared as Tanya's mother on the series Hung for Home Box Office Networks. In 2011, Perlman had a guest appearance as Mittens in one episode of Wilfred.

Since 2014, she has starred in a recurring role on The Mindy Project as Danny's mother Annette Castellano.


Perlman is the author of the successful illustrated children's book series Otto Undercover, whose six books to date (as of the middle of May 2012) are Born to Drive, Canyon Catastrophe, Water Balloon Doom, Toxic Taffy Takeover, The Brink of Ex-stink-tion, and Brain Freeze.

Personal life

Perlman with husband Danny DeVito

Perlman met actor Danny DeVito on January 17, 1971, when she went to see a friend in the single performance of the play The Shrinking Bride, which also featured DeVito.[4] They moved in together two weeks after meeting.[5] The couple married on January 28, 1982.[6] They have three children: Lucy Chet DeVito (born March 1983), Grace Fan DeVito (born March 1985), and Jacob Daniel DeVito (born October 1987).[7] Throughout their relationship, Perlman and DeVito have acted alongside each other several times, including in the TV show Taxi and the feature film Matilda.[7] Perlman and DeVito separated in October 2012.[7] However, in March 2013, it was reported that they had reconciled and called off the separation.[8] The family resides in Beverly Hills, California, and also spend time at their vacation home in Interlaken, New Jersey.[9]

Perlman and DeVito are both members of the steering committee of the Friends of the Apollo, a theater in Oberlin, Ohio, as is filmmaker Jonathan Demme.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1972 Hot Dogs for Gauguin Woman on Ferry Short film
1979 Swap Meet Mother
1982 National Lampoon's Movie Madness The Little Jewish Prostitute
1982 Love Child June Burns
1986 My Little Pony: The Movie Reeka Voice
1990 Enid is Sleeping Mavis
1991 The Last Halloween Mrs. Gizborne
1991 Ted and Venus Grace
1992 Class Act Ms. Simpson
1992 There Goes the Neighborhood Lydia Nunn
1993 We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story Mother Bird Voice
1995 Canadian Bacon Honey
1996 Sunset Park Phyllis Saroka
1996 Carpool Martha
1996 Matilda Zinnia Wormwood
2001 Old Love Unknown Short film
2006 10 Items Or Less Mrs. D
2007 Bloom Ma Short film
2007 Love Comes Lately Riesel
2008 Cat Dragged In Woman in Street Short film
2008 Beethoven's Big Break Patricia
2011 The Trouble With Bliss Maria
2012 The Sessions Mikvah Lady
2015 I'll See You in My Dreams Sally


Year Title Role Notes
1976 Selling of Vince D'Angelo Mrs. D'Angelo Television movie
1976 Stalk the Wild Child Jean Television movie
1976 I Want to Keep My Baby! Rae Finer Television movie
1977 Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night Judy Television movie
1977 Having Babies II Cheryl (uncredited) Television movie
1977 Intimate Strangers Unknown Television movie
1979 Like Normal People Jan Television movie
1979–1982 Taxi Zena Sherman 5 episodes
1982 Drop Out Father Tawney Shapiro Television movie
1982–1993 Cheers Carla Tortelli
Annette Lozupone (one episode)
275 episodes
American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Female in a Television Series
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1984–86, 1989)
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series
Nominated—American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Female in a Television Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1985, 1987–90, 1992)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1983, 1987–88, 1990–91, 1993)
1983 Unlikely Stories, Vol. 2 Vince's Wife Television movie
1984 The Ratings Game Francine Kester Television movie
1985 Happily Ever After Rose Johnson Voice; Television movie
1985 St. Elsewhere Carla Tortelli Episode: "Cheers"
1986 Amazing Stories Lois Episode: "The Wedding Ring"
1986 This is Impossible Rose Johnson Voice; Television Movie
1987 The Tortellis Carla Tortelli Episode: "Pilot"
1987 Stamp of a Killer Claudia Television movie
1988 A Family Again Aunt Dee Television movie
1989 Two Daddies? Rose Johnson Voice; Television movie
1990 The Earth Day Special Paula Television special
1991 Blossom The Godmother Episode: "Dad's Girlfriend"
1992 Roc Connie Mason Episode: "The Stan Who Came to Dinner"
1992 To Grandmother's House We Go Shirley Television movie
1993 A Place to Be Loved Jerri Blair Television movie
1994 The Simpsons Carla Tortelli Voice; Episode: "Fear of Flying"
1994 In Spite of Love Emma Television movie
1994 All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever! Worm TV Host Television movie
1995 The Critic Ardeth (second season) Voice; 2 episodes
1996–1997 Pearl Pearl Caraldo 22 episodes
1997 Union Square Mrs. Eileen Mulrooney Episode: "Harassed"
1997 Almost Perfect Rhea Perlman Episode: "Dating for Ratings"
1998 In the Doghouse Phil Markowitz Television movie
1998 Houdini Esther Television movie
1999 H-E Double Hockey Sticks Mrs. Beelzebub Television movie
1999 Mad About You Ramona Episode: "Valentine's Day"
2000 A Tale of Two Bunnies Thelma Television movie
2000 Secret Cutting Dr. Parella Television movie
2000 How to Marry a Billionaire: A Christmas Tale Jacqueline Kennedy Television movie
2001 Ally McBeal Dr. Helen Tooth Episode: "Falling Up"
2001 Kate Brasher Abbie Shaeffer 6 episodes
2001 Becker Dr. Katherine Simmons Episode: "Psycho Therapy"
2002 Frasier Carla Tortelli Episode: "Cheerful Goodbyes"
2002 What's New, Scooby-Doo? Agnes Voice; Episode: "A Scooby-Doo Halloween"
2003 Karen Sisco Louise Salchek Episode: "Dumb Bunnies"
2003 Other People's Business Mrs. Wabash Television movie
2004 Kevin Hill Eleanor Frank Episode: "Homework"
2006 Crumbs Camile Spadaro Episode: "A Loon Again, Naturally"
2006 Stroller Wars Penny Television movie
2008 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Roxana Fox Episode: "Unorthodox"
2008 The Christmas Choir Sister Agatha Television movie
2009–2010 Hung Vera-Joan Skagle 4 episodes
2011 Wilfred Mittens Episode: "Compassion"
2011 Oliver's Ghost Eloise Television movie
2012 Hot in Cleveland Jacki Episode: "Everything Goes Better with Vampires"
2012 The Manzanis Camille Pilot
2013–2014 Kirstie Thelma 12 episodes
2014–present The Mindy Project Annette Castellano 11 episodes
2015 Getting On Crystal Buff Season 3, Episode 3: "No, I Don't Want a F. Smiley Face"
2016 Mom[11] Anya Season 3, Episode 12: "Diabetic Lesbians and a Blushing Bride"


  1. Veromi
  2. Rhea Perlman Biography (1948–)
  3. NEWSMEAT ▷ Rhea Perlman's Federal Campaign Contribution Report
  4. Lovece, Frank; with Franco, Jules (1988). Hailing Taxi: The Official Book of the Show. New York: Simon & Schuster / Prentice Hall Press. pp. 53, 286. ISBN 978-0-13-372103-4.
  5. Lovece, pp. 53, 80
  6. Wallace, Carol (December 12, 1983). "Chalk Up a Successful Marriage for TV's Tart-Tongued Twosome, Danny De Vito and Rhea Perlman". People. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  7. 1 2 3 "Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman Separate". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  8. Leonard, Elizabeth (March 15, 2013). "Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman Are Back Together". People. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  9. "Monmouth County, New Jersey Tax Assessor's Office property record for Danny De Vito and Rhea Perlman". Tax1.co.monmouth.nj.us. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  10. "Friends of the Apollo". Oberlin College. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  11. "Diabetic Lesbians and a Blushing Bride". the Futon Critic. Retrieved January 30, 2016.

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