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Although he has a penchant for dark comedies, actor-director Danny DeVito is serious about his craft, his family and his cigars.
David Shaw
From the Print Edition:
Danny DeVito, Winter 96

(continued from page 6)

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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