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Rhea Perlman Movies And TV Shows - A Journey Through Cheers And Beyond

With a focus on her remarkable contributions to both the big and small screens, this retrospective will unravel the tapestry of "Rhea Perlman movies and TV shows." From her iconic role in the beloved sitcom "Cheers" to her ventures beyond, Perlman's career has been a testament to her enduring talent and adaptability in the world of entertainment.

Kaleem Kirkpatrick
Feb 07, 2024366 Shares14653 Views
Embarking on the captivating cinematic and television journey of a seasoned actress, this exploration delves into the versatile career of the talented Rhea Perlman. With a focus on her remarkable contributions to both the big and small screens, this retrospective will unravel the tapestry of "Rhea Perlman movies and TV shows." From her iconic role in the beloved sitcom "Cheers" to her ventures beyond, Perlman's career has been a testament to her enduring talent and adaptability in the world of entertainment.

Childhood And Early Life

Rhea Jo Perlman was born on March 31, 1948, in Coney Island, New York, USA, to Philip Perlman and Adele. Her mother served as a bookkeeper, while her father, a Polish immigrant, worked as a manager at a factory. Raised in a Jewish family in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, Rhea pursued drama at 'Hunter College' in New York, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1968.
In the mid-1980s, Rhea's parents relocated to Los Angeles. Notably, her father, Philip Perlman, secured a role as an extra named 'Phil' in the popular sitcom 'Cheers,' appearing in over 30 episodes. Over time, he transitioned into a character actor, making appearances in various TV series and films.
Rhea's sister, Heide Paula Perlman, has made a mark as a television scriptwriter, producer, and story editor. A two-time 'Primetime Emmy Award' winner, Heide contributed to acclaimed TV series such as 'Cheers' and 'The George Carlin Show.' Additionally, she played a role in the variety show 'The Tracey Ullman Show.'
Rhea Perlman wearing a blue jacket with a smile
Rhea Perlman wearing a blue jacket with a smile


Rhea Perlman began her acting career on the stage, with her debut in the off-off-Broadway play ‘Dracula Sabbat’ from September 1970 to June 1971, where she played a minor role as an attendant. In 1972, she appeared in the play ‘Up - An Uppity Revue’ alongside the renowned actor, comedian, director, and producer Danny DeVito, whom she later married. During the same year, she also had a small role in the short film ‘Hot Dogs for Gauguin,’ marking DeVito's film debut.
From the mid-70s to the late-70s, Perlman appeared in several television movies, including ‘Stalk the Wild Child’ (1976), ‘Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night’ (1977), and ‘Like Normal People’ (1979). Her popularity soared with her recurring role as ‘Zena Sherman,’ Louie's girlfriend (played by DeVito), in the famous American sitcom ‘Taxi,’ featured throughout its five seasons from 1979 to 1982.
In the realm of cinema, she portrayed diverse characters, such as a shoplifting mother in the 1979 American comedy film ‘Swap Meet’ and a ‘Little Jewish Prostitute’ in the American comedy flick titled ‘National Lampoon's Movie Madness’ (1982).
Her breakthrough came when producers Glen and Les Charles noticed her during a play, leading to her iconic role as ‘Carla Tortelli,’ a "feisty," "worldly-wise," and highly superstitious barmaid in the American sitcom ‘Cheers’ in 1982. ‘Cheers’ became one of the most successful sitcoms, running for 11 seasons on NBC from September 30, 1982, to May 20, 1993, earning 95 ‘Emmy Award’ nominations and winning 20.
Rhea Perlman's portrayal of ‘Carla’ earned her numerous ‘Emmy Award’ nominations, securing wins in the category of ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series’ in 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1989. She stands as the sole actress with six ‘Golden Globes’ nominations for ‘Best Supporting Actress.’
Additional accolades include the ‘Viewers for Quality Television’ award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ (Comedy) in 1985 and the ‘American Comedy Award’ for ‘Funniest Supporting Actress’ in 1989. Notably, ‘Carla’ was recognized among the all-time greatest TV characters by CBS in 2011.
Following her exceptional portrayal of ‘Carla’ in ‘Cheers,’ Perlman continued to showcase her talent by appearing in all episodes of the iconic sitcom. She reprised the role in various series, including the pilot episode of ‘The Tortellis’ (1987), an episode of ‘Frasier’ (2002) titled ‘Cheerful Goodbyes,’ and an episode of ‘St. Elsewhere’ in 1985 titled ‘Cheers.’
Her versatility extended to animated sitcoms as she lent her voice to ‘Carla’ in the ‘Fear of Flying’ episode of ‘The Simpsons’ in 1994. Simultaneously enjoying the success of ‘Cheers,’ Perlman took on starring roles in TV movies like ‘To Grandmother's House We Go’ (1992), ‘A Place to Be Loved’ (1993), and ‘In Spite of Love’ (1994). Additionally, she portrayed ‘Lois’ in the ‘The Wedding Ring’ episode of Steven Spielberg’s TV series ‘Amazing Stories’ in 1986.
Transitioning post-‘Cheers,’ Perlman headlined the American sitcom ‘Pearl’ as ‘Pearl Caraldo’ in all 22 episodes, airing on CBS from September 16, 1996, to June 25, 1997. In 1996, she secured leading roles in films such as ‘Sunset Park,’ ‘Carpool,’ and ‘Matilda,’ the latter being a globally acclaimed children's fantasy comedy directed by DeVito.
Perlman's filmography includes notable works like ‘Love Comes Lately’ (2007), ‘Beethoven's Big Break’ (2008), and ‘The Sessions’ (2012). She also contributed her voice to characters in films like ‘My Little Pony: The Movie’ (1986), ‘We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story’ (1993), and ‘Sing’ (2016).
From 2014 to 2016, Perlman took on the recurring role of ‘Annette Castellano’ in 13 episodes of the American romantic comedy TV series ‘The Mindy Project.’ Her notable TV series repertoire encompasses ‘Kate Brasher’ (2001), ‘Hung’ (2009–2010), and ‘Me and My Grandma’ (2017).
In 2000, Perlman showcased her versatility by impersonating Jacqueline Kennedy in the TV film ‘How to Marry a Billionaire: A Christmas Tale.’ Other noteworthy TV movies in her career include ‘Secret Cutting’ (2000), ‘The Christmas Choir’ (2008), and ‘Oliver's Ghost’ (2011). Stepping onto the off-Broadway stage, Perlman starred in ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’ at the ‘Westside Theatre’ in 2009, sharing the stage with her daughter Lucy DeVito.
Beyond her acting prowess, Perlman ventured into literary realms, co-authoring the children's book series ‘Otto Undercover’ with illustrations by Dan Santat. The series, consisting of six books, received acclaim, with ‘The Brink of the Ex-Stink-Tion’ being selected among the 50 best books of 2007 by ‘Child Magazine.’ From 2017 to 2019, Perlman continued her on-screen presence, appearing in movies like ‘Lemon,’ ‘Half Magic,’ and ‘Poms.’

Personal Life

Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito exchanged vows on January 28, 1982, following a relationship that began in 1971. Their union brought three children into the world - Lucy Chet, born in March 1983; Grace Fan, born in March 1985; and Jacob Daniel, born in October 1987.
The couple faced a period of separation in October 2012 but later reconciled, as reported in March 2013. However, they experienced another separation in March 2017. Despite living apart, Perlman and DeVito have chosen not to pursue divorce. They assert that their bond has deepened after their separation, emphasizing the enduring connection they share.
Rhea Perlman wearing a blue shirt as she smiles while attending an event
Rhea Perlman wearing a blue shirt as she smiles while attending an event


  • Matilda (1996):In this beloved children's fantasy comedy film directed by her husband Danny DeVito, Perlman played a significant role as Mrs. Wormwood, Matilda's neglectful and self-centered mother.
  • Sunset Park (1996):Perlman had a starring role in this sports drama film, where she played the character Mona, a high school basketball coach.
  • Carpool (1996):Perlman starred alongside Tom Arnold in this comedy film, playing the role of a carjacked woman caught up in a series of misadventures during a chaotic carpool.
  • Love Comes Lately (2007):In this drama film, Perlman took on the role of Reisel, a character in one of the film's interconnected stories exploring themes of love and aging.
  • Beethoven's Big Break (2008):Perlman appeared in this family comedy film as Evie, bringing humor to the adventures of the iconic St. Bernard dog, Beethoven.
  • The Sessions (2012):Perlman had a supporting role in this drama film, which explores the relationship between a severely disabled man and a sex surrogate.
  • Sing (2016):In this animated musical comedy, Perlman lent her voice to the character Judith, a snobby, wealthy secretary bird.
  • Lemon (2017):Perlman was part of the cast of this comedy-drama film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, playing the character Mrs. Gelman.
  • Half Magic (2018):Perlman had a supporting role in this comedy film about three women who empower themselves in both their personal and professional lives.
  • Poms (2019):Perlman appeared in this comedy-drama film about a group of women who form a cheerleading squad at their retirement community.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (1986):Perlman voiced the character Reeka in this animated musical fantasy film based on the popular My Little Pony toy line.
  • We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993):In this animated adventure comedy, Perlman provided the voice for the character Mother Bird.

TV Shows

  • Cheers (1982–1993):Perlman's breakthrough role as Carla Tortelli in this iconic sitcom earned her widespread acclaim. She appeared in all episodes and won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
  • The Tortellis (1987):Perlman reprised her role as Carla in the pilot episode of this short-lived spin-off centered around her character's ex-husband and his new family.
  • Frasier (2002):Perlman made a guest appearance in the episode "Cheerful Goodbyes," again playing Carla Tortelli, in this popular spin-off of Cheers.
  • Pearl (1996–1997):Perlman starred in this sitcom as the titular character, Pearl Caraldo, a widow who pursues her dream of a college education.
  • The Mindy Project (2014–2016):Perlman had a recurring role as Annette Castellano, the mother of Danny Castellano, in this romantic comedy TV series.
  • Kate Brasher (2001):Perlman appeared in this short-lived drama series, playing the character Rosemary in several episodes.
  • Hung (2009–2010):Perlman had a recurring role as Tanya's mother in this comedy-drama series centered around a struggling high school basketball coach.
  • Me and My Grandma (2017):Perlman appeared in this web series starring Eva Gutowski, playing the character Zelda.
  • St. Elsewhere (1985):Apart from her iconic role in Cheers, Perlman made a guest appearance in the episode "Cheers" of the medical drama series St. Elsewhere.
  • Amazing Stories (1986):Perlman portrayed Lois in the episode "The Wedding Ring" of Steven Spielberg's anthology series, showcasing her ability to adapt to different genres.
  • How to Marry a Billionaire: A Christmas Tale (2000):In this TV film, Perlman showcased her versatility by impersonating Jacqueline Kennedy, offering a glimpse into her ability to tackle diverse roles.
  • Secret Cutting (2000):Perlman took on a dramatic role in this TV movie, addressing the serious issue of self-harm among teenagers.
  • The Christmas Choir (2008):Perlman appeared in this heartwarming TV film about a workaholic who finds redemption through music and community.
  • Oliver's Ghost (2011):Perlman starred in this family-friendly TV movie, contributing to its themes of friendship, family, and the supernatural.

Rhea Perlman Movies And TV Shows - FAQ

What Is Rhea Perlman Famous For?

Rhea Perlman (born March 31, 1948, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.) American actress best known for her role as the wisecracking barmaid Carla Tortelli on the award-winning American television sitcom Cheers (1982-93).

Did Danny DeVito And Rhea Perlman Have A Child Together?

Lucy DeVito is the daughter of actors Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman whom he married in 1982, had their first child together on March 11, 1983.

Why Is Rhea Perlman In Barbie?

At the end of the film, when Barbie's existential crisis comes to a head, Perlman resurfaces once again, this time revealing herself to be Ruth Handler, the inventor/creative mother of “Barbie”. Ruth Handler was indeed the inventor of Barbie, a real person.

Wrapping Up

It is evident that Rhea Perlman movies and TV shows has an impact that extends far beyond the confines of the Cheers bar. With a career spanning decades, Perlman has showcased her ability to seamlessly transition between genres, leaving an indelible mark on both cinema and television. As we reflect on her diverse roles, it becomes clear that Rhea Perlman's contributions have enriched the entertainment industry and left an enduring legacy for audiences to cherish.
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