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Rhea Perlman Movies and TV Shows – A Comprehensive Guide

Rhea Perlman Movies and TV Shows

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Rhea Perlman, born on March 31, 1948, in Brooklyn, New York, is an accomplished American actress celebrated for her versatile roles in both movies and television. Best known for her portrayal of the wisecracking barmaid Carla Tortelli in the award-winning sitcom Cheers (1982–93), Perlman’s career is a fascinating journey filled with remarkable performances and contributions to the entertainment industry. In this article, we are going to explore Rhea Perlman Movies and TV Shows.

Family and Early Career

Early Life and Education

Perlman’s journey into the world of acting began in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, where she developed a passion for musicals during her childhood. After majoring in drama at Hunter College in New York City, Perlman embarked on her acting career.

Meeting Danny DeVito

In 1970, Perlman’s life took a significant turn when she attended a friend’s Off-Broadway play, “The Shrinking Bride,” and met actor Danny DeVito. Two weeks later, they moved in together and later married in 1982, marking the start of a dynamic partnership both on and off-screen.

Taxi and Early Success

Perlman’s early career included minor roles in TV movies and her first feature film, “Swap Meet” (1979). Notably, she joined the cast of the popular TV series Taxi (1978–83), playing the recurring role of Zena Sherman, Louie De Palma’s girlfriend.

Cheers: The Breakthrough Role

Carla Tortelli’s Legacy

In 1982, Perlman secured the role of Carla Tortelli in Cheers, a character known for her sarcasm and quick wit. The show, initially slow to gain traction, eventually became one of the best American sitcoms. Perlman received 10 Emmy nominations and won four times for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series during Cheers’ 11-year run.

Family Ties in Cheers

Perlman’s family also played a part in Cheers, with her sister, Heide Perlman, contributing as a writer and producer, and her father, Philip Perlman, appearing in various episodes. Despite cast changes, Rhea Perlman remained a constant presence until the series concluded in 1993.

Carla Tortelli Beyond Cheers

Perlman reprised her role as Carla in spin-off series like St. Elsewhere, The Simpsons, and Frasier. She also made a memorable appearance in the short-lived show The Tortellis in 1987, centered around Carla’s ex-husband.

Later Credits and Diverse Roles

Advocacy for Child Welfare

Perlman’s interest in child welfare extended beyond the screen. Her involvement in projects like the TV movie “A Place to Be Loved” (1993) highlighted important social issues, showcasing her commitment to making a positive impact through her work.

Pearl, Kirstie, and The Mindy Project

In 1996–97, Perlman starred in the sitcom Pearl, portraying a widow returning to school. She later collaborated with Cheers alum Kirstie Alley in Kirstie (2013–14) and had a recurring role on The Mindy Project (2014–17), displaying her versatility across different genres.

Big Screen Success

Rhea Perlman Movies and TV Shows journey included notable films such as “Canadian Bacon” (1995), “Matilda” (1996), and “Poms” (2019). Her 2023 role as Ruth Handler in Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” marked another milestone in her illustrious career.

Animated Ventures

In addition to live-action roles, Perlman lent her voice to the animated comedy “Sing” (2016), showcasing her ability to bring characters to life through various mediums.

Personal Life and Beyond

Life Beyond the Screen

Perlman’s personal life, including her 30-year marriage and subsequent separation from DeVito, adds a layer of complexity to her narrative. Despite ups and downs, their enduring friendship was evident in their joint appearance on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” in 2023.

Literary Pursuits

Beyond acting, Perlman showcased her creativity by writing the comedic children’s series “Otto Undercover,” demonstrating her multifaceted talents.


Rhea Perlman’s career is a testament to her acting prowess, spanning decades and encompassing a wide array of roles in both television and film. From the iconic Carla Tortelli to animated characters and beyond, Perlman’s contributions have left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. As she continues to evolve and captivate audiences, Rhea Perlman remains a beloved figure, celebrated for her talent, versatility, and enduring impact on the world of entertainment.


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