Danny DeVito has been called a "national treasure." At 5-foot-nada, the kid from the Jersey shore has thrived as an actor, prolific producer (Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Erin Brockovich) and director (Throw Momma from the Train, The War of the Roses, Hoffa, Matilda). Perhaps his secret is his mantra to life. As he once said, "I have a ball from the moment I get up to the moment I go to bed. And I think I dream funny too. I have a lot of funny dreams."
In the 1970s he played one of the patients in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (he also appeared in an Off-Broadway production of the play.) But what really put him on the map was when he was cast as Louie De Palma, the ornery taxi dispatcher in the hit series Taxi for which he won a Golden Globe and Emmy award.
"[During my audition for Taxi] I really wanted to capture Louie," recalled DeVito years later. "Very famous people created the show like James L. Brooks and Ed Weinberger. They created Mary Tyler Moore. They were the hotshots. The casting director said, 'this is a great part for you,' and I wanted to make an impression. I had the script in my hand. I walked in...and said, 'one thing I want to know before we start. Who wrote this s#*t?...That's Louie."