Graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) in Hollywood, California in 1966.
First connection with Michael Douglas happened when he starred in a NY stage production of "Down the Morning Line" in 1969, directed by Douglas and written by Martin Sheen.
In 1975, under a grant from the American Film Institute, he and Rhea Perlman wrote and produced 'Minestrone', which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and has been translated into five languages.
Frequently appears in films with Jack Nicholson, including Goin' South (1978), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Terms of Endearment (1983), Hoffa (1992), and Mars Attacks! (1996). They have also both played Batman villains: The Joker in Batman (1989) and The Penguin in Batman Returns (1992).
He was considered for the role of Sallah in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) but couldn't do it due to his TV commitments.
Has been nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor, three different times in three different decades. In the 1980's for Going Ape! (1981), in the 1990's for Batman Returns (1992) and in the 2000's for Deck the Halls (2006). He has never won.
Daughters: Lucy DeVito (born 1983), Gracie DeVito (born March 1985), son: Daniel J. DeVito (Jake Daniel DeVito) (born October 1987).
Appeared alongside his former roommate Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in three films, Romancing the Stone (1984), its sequel The Jewel of the Nile (1985), and the black comedy The War of the Roses (1989).
In Romancing The Stone (1984) he makes a Batman related joke when he corners Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in the cave ("Move it, before Batman comes home!"). Eight years later he played the Penguin in Batman Returns (1992).
Has appeared alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in three films/movies - two of these films directed and produced by Ivan Reitman - Twins (1988) & Junior (1994), and in Last Action Hero (1993), playing a minor-role, as the voice of Detective Whiskers. Both have played Batman villains, DeVito as The Penguin in Batman Returns (1992), Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin (1997).
Was considered for the role of Det. John Kimble in Kindergarten Cop (1990), but couldn't secure it due to his small stature. The part went to Arnold Schwarzenegger instead.
Was considered for the role of George Costanza in "Seinfeld" (1990).
Often portrays sinister people in the movies he's in. He played the Penguin, a mutant crime boss, in Batman Returns (1992), a cynical gambler in Space Jam (1996) and Mars Attacks! (1996), a sleazy talent agent in Death to Smoochy (2002) and ruthless and greedy businessmen in Ruthless People (1986), What's the Worst That Could Happen? (2001), Matilda (1996) and Other People's Money (1991).
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 136-137. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Was originally set to play Mario in Super Mario Bros. (1993) but backed out and was replaced by Bob Hoskins.
Attended the final Phish concert with his son and 75,000 others in Coventry, Vermont on August 16, 2004.
Lives in Beverly Hills, California and attended the Beverly Hills Film Festival in 2008.
He was inducted into the 2010 New Jersey Hall of Fame for his services and contributions to Arts and Entertainment.