Rhea Perlman (Actress) - Cheers
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Updated: 9/08/20

Name: Rhea Perlman

Birth Name: Rhea Jo Perlman

Born: March 31, 1948 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

Claim To Fame: Rhea Perlman is an American actress and writer best known for her role as head-waitress Carla Tortelli in the sitcom Cheers (1982-1993).

Family Life: Perlman married Danny DeVito on January 28, 1982. They have three children: Lucy Chet DeVito, Grace Fan DeVito, and Jacob Daniel DeVito. They separated in October 2012. However, in March 2013, it was reported that they had reconciled. The couple later separated again for a second time in March 2017 on amicable terms. Although the two no longer lived together, Perlman said she had no intent of filing for divorce from DeVito. These days their relationship is stronger and better than ever!

Info: The daughter of Philip Perlman (1919-2015), a Polish immigrant who was a manager at a doll parts factory and Adele (1922-2016), a bookkeeper.

She has a sister, Heide, who is a television writer, story editor, and producer who worked on Cheers, Frasier and The Tracey Ullman Show.

She studied drama at Hunter College in New York, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1968.

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. They moved in together two weeks after meeting and married on January 28, 1982.

No relation to Ron Perlman.

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Trivia: Perlman began her acting career in the early 1970s with a small role as an attendant in the off-off-Broadway play Dracula Sabbat, which ran from September 1970 to June 1971.

In 1972, she appeared in Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective's production of Up – An Uppity Revue, along with her future husband, Danny DeVito.

One of her first notable parts was a recurring role on the television show Taxi as Zena, the sweet girlfriend of Louie De Palma (played by DeVito).

Producers Glen and Les Charles saw her in that play, which led to her landing the role as wisecracking barmaid Carla Tortelli on their sitcom Cheers in 1982.

Perlman won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy four times: in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1989. Over her 11 seasons on Cheers, she was nominated for an Emmy every year but 1992, becoming the Cheers star to have the most wins and nominations. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress six times, more than anyone else in that category.

Along with Ted Danson and George Wendt, she is one of only three actors to appear in all 275 episodes of Cheers (1982).

She has played the same character (Carla Tortelli) in five different television series: Cheers (1982), St. Elsewhere (1982), The Tortellis (1987), The Simpsons (1989) and Frasier (1993).

In the mid-1980s, their parents moved to Los Angeles, and their father became an extra on Cheers. His character became known by his real name, Phil, and he managed to get a few lines and appeared in more than 30 episodes.

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

She starred in only one movie, Matilda (1996), with her husband Danny DeVito, where they played Matilda's parents. However before they were married, Rhea appeared in five episodes of Taxi (1978) as Louie's girlfriend Zena.

In 2002, she appeared with Richard Kind and Marilu Henner in Charles Busch's play "The Tale of The Allergist's Wife" at NY's Barrymore Theater.

In 2009, Perlman and her daughter Lucy DeVito starred in the off-Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore, adapted by Nora and Delia Ephron, at the Westside Theatre.

Perlman is the author of the 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.

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Where Are They Now: It seems as if Perlman is as busy as she's ever been! She's been working steadily for over 4 decades. Most recently she's been cast in the fantasy comedy Man & Witch, which is currently in pre-production.


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