Danny Devito is an American icon, not just for his on-screen roles. He’s also a producer, director, and screenwriter, responsible for movies like Death to Smoochy (director), and Be Cool (producer). He also has must-see cameos in some of the biggest TV shows of multiple decades, including Starsky and Hutch (1977), Sesame Street (1988), The Larry Sanders Show (1994), Friends (2004), and Deadbeat (2015).
Check out highlights from this living legend’s extensive film career.
10. Romancing the Stone
This 1984 rom com/adventure movie has Devito playing the villain to Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner’s heroes. A romance novelist ends up living her dream when a series of events finds her in Columbia, dodging bullets and crocodiles to steal El Corazon, a giant emerald.
9. Other People’s Money
Character: Lawrence Garfield
DeVito teams with Gregory Peck and Penelope Ann Miller in this 1991 classic dramedy about a corporate raider. His takeover shakes the family-run enterprise to its core, and shareholder meetings have never felt more entertaining.
Disney’s grossly underrated 1997 animated musical pairs a familiar storyline with Aladdin‘s casting formula for an enjoyable movie. DeVito’s Phil provides comic relief as the trainer, mentor, and sidekick for Tate Donovan’s titular character.
Character: Vincent Benedict
Twins is a rare 80s movie (1988, to be exact) that ages like a fine wine. The story of two mismatched twins (DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger) separated at birth and rediscovering each other is a classic. Together, they search for the truth behind their true birth parents.
6. Renaissance Man
Character: Bill Rago
One of Penny Marshall’s most underrated films, Renaissance Man has a great cast that includes Gregory Hines, Cliff Robertson, Ed Begley Jr., Mark Wahlberg, and Stacey Dash. DeVito plays a divorced ad exec who takes a job teaching basic literacy to a group of DD (Dumb as Dogshit) Army trainees in nearby Fort McClane.
5. The Lorax
Character: The Lorax
Dr. Seuss’ classic book comes to life in this colorful 2012 3D animated movie starring DeVito as The Lorax himself. It’s a brilliant movie about the double-edged sword of ingenuity and greed in capitalism. Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift, and Betty White also star.
4. Throw Mamma from the Train
Character: Owen Lift
Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito are brilliant in this 1987 black comedy inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, Strangers on a Train. The movie inspires Owen to kill his overbearing mother, played by 80s icon Anne Ramsey. Somehow the men form a friendship and both become successful writers.
3. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Character: Frank Reynolds
It’s hard to believe in hindsight, but in 2005 Always Sunny was just an experiment nobody was really sure what to do with. DeVito recognized the show’s brilliance and joined as a regular cast member playing the father of either Dee and Dennis (Kaitlin Olson and Glenn Howerton) or Charlie (Charlie Day), depending on the day.
2. Man on the Moon
Character: George Shapiro
Jim Carrey recreates Andy Kaufman in excruciating detail in this biopic about the real-life comedian’s comedian. DeVito, who knew Kaufman from Taxi, produced the movie and stood next to Carrey as sort of a sign off that it was ok to do what he’s doing.
Character: Louie De Palma
Although he’d played several roles in movies prior to Taxi’s 1978-1984 run, it’s what cemented DeVito into the minds and hearts of American audiences. His role as Sunshine Cab Company’s main dispatcher and antagonist is a reminder of how far our culture has (or arguably hasn’t) come. Tony Danza, Kaufman, Christopher Lloyd, and DeVito’s wife Rhea Perlman round out this memorable cast to a show that actually works even better in a day when ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft make taxis seem retro anyway.