Danny De Vito
Every avid movie fan probably knows the name of the little charismatic actor Danny De Vito, who for the past fifty years has been pleasing the audience with remarkable roles. In his creative biography, more than a hundred works, and over time, the filmography of this actor is constantly growing. Few people know that Danny is a man who made himself, we can say that a short Italian is an example of a typical “American dream”, when a person, thanks to his work and perseverance, ascends to the “Olympus” of cinema.
Childhood and youth
Daniel Michael “Danny” De Vito, Jr. was born in northeastern America, in the uptown city of Neptune, in the state of New Jersey.
Danny’s parents (Italians by birth) are unremarkable people who did not even have the slightest idea about cinema. The father of the future actor, in order to earn a living, changed far from one profession, trying to open his own business: he sold sweets in a candy store, worked in the laundry room, tried to become the owner of a billiard club, but eventually settled on a hairdressing art, opening his own salon.
Daniel Sr. was concerned about the small growth of his son, so often took his child to doctors who did not reveal any physical abnormalities in Danny. The boy was healthy, and the father of the future actor reconciled, believing that since the son did not succeed in growth, he would certainly surpass his peers in mental development. Thus, the young De Vito was identified in the local Catholic school.
According to the actor’s recollections, he wasn’t teased in childhood because of his small growth (now the actor’s height is 147 cm) and excess weight. Although Daniel Jr. didn’t get along well with studies and physical education, the boy was known as an authority in the classroom. Already on a school bench, Danny showed himself to be a charismatic and artistic young man, he was the king of practical jokes, and won special respect from friends and classmates for telling believably chilling stories. His horror stories about zombies, gloomy rooms and about a mad bloodthirsty neighbor scared the audience so much that they could not even move with fear.
After leaving school, the young man followed in his father’s footsteps and mastered hairdressing. The co-owners of the salon held by Daniel Sr. were some Nicholsons. The Italian did not even think about a career in the movie, but his views on the future were decided by chance. Once Danny overheard a conversation between Aunt Nicholson and her sister Angela: the ladies talked about star nephew Jack, who had recently played in the low-budget film “Shop of Horrors” (1960).
Curious De Vito, of course, could not get past such news and went to the premiere of “black comedy” to watch the game of his urban neighbor. The film, which tells of a bloodthirsty killer flower, starring Jack Nicholson, was so impressed with Danny that he began to seriously think about the acting future.
But at that time, De Vito thought about changing scissors to a make-up brush and even took special courses at the New York Drama Academy, where, among other things, he learned the basics of acting. After graduation, Danny, driven by a dream, went to conquer the “dream factory”, but, alas, in Hollywood, eminent directors were not accepted by eminent directors. The film producers refused Danny because of his growth and unusual appearance. Therefore, the future actor went to endless trials, and to earn a living, moonlighted as a night watchman.
After a series of setbacks in Hollywood in 1966, Danny left the city of dreams. The Italian was offered a job in the summer center of the American playwright Eugene O’Neill, located in Connecticut. There, De Vito and found a friend – the famous actor Michael Douglas, who showed him the way to the cinema.
But the first work in front of the director’s cameras did not bring Danny either huge money or popularity (the name of the aspiring actor was not even indicated in the credits). This film was a picture of the famous director Woody Allen with the non-trivial title of “Bananas” (1971). In the film, De Vito was awarded the supporting role, saying a few insignificant remarks.
After the debut at the cinema, the charismatic Italian continued to flicker on television screens in fleeting and unremarkable roles that were still remembered by the audience. He played in the films: “Fragile Dreams” (1970), “Hurry up, otherwise I will be 30” (1973), “Loafer” (1973), etc.
But Danny De Vito got the real “ticket to the big movie” in 1975, playing a patient in a psychiatric hospital in Milos Forman’s drama “Flying Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. His colleagues at the cinema were Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Brad Durif and other famous screen stars. After the release of this film, film critics began to talk about Danny as a performer of a new plan: a small but characteristic actor was remembered by avid moviegoers around the world.