My Favorite Danny DeVito Performances


He's been making us laugh for about half a century now. Like most of you, my first exposure to the man was when he played the maniacal Louie DePalma on Taxi, a role that won him an Emmy and a Golden Globe. He's been bouncing back and forth with ease between television and movies, never allowing himself to get piegon-holed or typecast. His circle of friends in Hollywood is pretty impressive and he has proved himself to be a talented writer and director as well. As always, this list is my opinion and my opinion only. These are my favorite performances by the supremely talented Danny DeVito.

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I love Danny. There's only a handful of people in movies I think that are funny, and he's one of them.

"Twins" is my favorite performance, as well as the show "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia"

I'd take issue with the "great director" part...I do think he could be called a great producer.

A Walk Among the Tombstones
Garden State
The Caveman's Valentine
Erin Brokovich
Man on the Moon
Out of Sight
Pulp Fiction
Reality Bites

He was very funny in Get Shorty.

But DeVito is one of those gifted comics who can be funny just by saying anything: "Good afternoon." We fall down laughing. The Jersey accent doesn't hurt..


Chief Rash, Drowning Mona

DeVito was very funny in this nearly forgotten comedy playing a small town sheriff investigating the death of a woman (Bette Midler) everyone in town hated.


Martini, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest

I don't think he says five words in the entire movie, but DeVito was a total scene stealer as the introverted mental ward patient who is one of the first to fall under the spell of Randle P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson).

Good idea for a list, Gideon! Offhand, his performance in a probably-not-too-popular movie that I love is as Grover Cleaver, the gross mortician in Screwed (2000). He never fails to make me laugh in that movie.

P.S. Thanks for the catch, CR!
"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley."

Vernon Dahlert, Terms of Endearment

DeVito made the most out of this glorified cameo in the 1983 Best Picture Oscar winner playing a neighbor of Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) who is completely infatuated with the woman.

Oswald Cobblepot AKA The Penguin, Batman Returns

With the aid of Tim Burton and a crack make-up department, DeVito made a pretty credible Batman villain, though he was definitely upstaged by Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman.

George Shapiro, Man on the Moon

DeVito played the hard-working agent of Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey) even though Milos Foreman had the rest of the former cast members of Taxi appear as themselves.

Roy the Stripper, Friends

DeVito had me on the floor during this episode of the NBC comedy playing a hypersensitive male stripper hired for Phoebe's bachelorette party.

Max Medici, Dumbo

It was my recent viewing of this film that motivated me to make this list. DeVito was so much fun as the owner of a third rate circus whose fortunes are turned around by a baby elephant whose ears are so large that they give him the ability to fly.

Ralph, Romancing the Stone

DeVito plays a weasley thug who is tailing a romance novelist (Kathleen Turner) and an adventurer (Michael Douglas) because he wants to get his hands on a treasure map that they have.

Swackhammer, Space Jam

DeVito provided the voice for this character, the owner of an outer space amusement park called Moran Mountain where he wants the Looney Tunes to be the primary attraction and the only way they will agree is if Swackhammer can beat them in a basketball game.

Dr. Larry Arbogast, Junior

I definitely have issues with the film, but DeVito was very believable playing one of his smartest characters, a doctor doing research in the field of fertility, who has come up with a new drug in the field with the aid of his partner (Arnold Schwarzenegger) but the FDA is holding up human testing on the drug so he decides to inject the drug in his partner, resulting in the world's first male pregnancy.


Gavin D'Amato, War of the Roses

DeVito also directed this seriously black comedy playing thee lawyer and BFF for Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas), who is going through a extremely ugly divorce from his wife, Barbara (Kathleen Turner).


Phil, Hercules

DeVito provided the voice for this silly Disney character, a loud-mouthed centaur whose job it is to train young Hercules (voiced by Tate Donavan) on the art of being a God.