Although he has a penchant for dark comedies, actor-director Danny DeVito is serious about his craft, his family and his cigars.
From the Print Edition:
Danny DeVito, Winter 96
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At home, DeVito says, he avoids smoking in or near the children's bedrooms and tries to smoke only on the patios or his screening room or smoking room, "although I sometimes fire up at the dinner table after a dinner party when I just can't move."
He laughs and stands for only the second time in the two hours he's been talking. We walk across the patio, into his screening room and down a narrow, winding stairway to the smoking room. It's paneled with dark wood and filled with overstuffed furniture and more than a dozen ashtrays. He opens a medium-sized humidor—"I have three of them, plus a couple of traveling humidors"—and lights up an Hoyo de Monterrey robusto.
"What I really like," he says, "is to sit with a bunch of guys and have a nice meal and smoke a few cigars." But his rhapsodizing is interrupted by a phone call; it's his wife and occasional co-star. Perlman, who won four Emmys for her portrayal of Carla, the wisecracking waitress in "Cheers," is calling from the set of "Pearl," the new CBS sitcom that she co-produces and stars in as a middle-aged college student opposite Malcolm McDowell, who plays the snooty Professor Pynchon. (Educating Rita comes to prime time.) DeVito and Perlman swap reports on their day's activities—"I'm a man of leisure this week," DeVito says—and he laughs repeatedly at her account of life in episodic television. Then, a man of leisure indeed, he strolls back to the sofa, takes a deep drag on his cigar, smiles beatifically and says, "This is the life, huh?"
David Shaw, the Pulitzer Prize-winning media critic for the Los Angeles Times, is the author of The Pleasure Police: How Bluenose Busybodies and Lily-Livered Alarmists Are Taking All the Fun Out of Life (Doubleday, 1996).
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