7 of danny devito's most iconic outfits
'OMG Danny DeVito I love your work.'
Left: Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images. Right: Screengrab via Youtube.
For nearly half a century Danny DeVito has been sharing his wit and humor with us both on and off the screen. Besides an iconic career that includes seminal moments such as Twins and Matilda, DeVito also has also grown a cult following for his quirky personality and eccentric style, inspiring a popular crop top, a shrine, and a whole meme community. Why exactly is DeVito so meme-able? It's (possibly) something to do with the iconic Mean Girls line, "OMG Danny DeVito I love your work," but beyond that we really don't have a clue. Whatever the meta-meaning behind the trend, we're here for it — our small and stylish King is finally being recognized. In honor of the acting legend, i-D took a look at some of his most iconic style moments.
Premiere of Ruthless People, 1986
Together for nearly 40 years, DeVito and his wife Rhea Perlman, who he is now separated from, were a stylish duo. From DeVito’s unexpected take on traditional shirts and slacks, to Perlman’s incorporation of quirky details such as lace pants and strappy kitten heels, the two always managed to add their own spin to classic outfits. During the red carpet for the 1986 film Ruthless People, which starred DeVito as Sam Stone and Bette Midler as his character’s wife, the two brought a whole new level of fabulousness to Century City when they showed up to the premiere wearing matching dark sunglasses.
Batman Returns, 1992
In Tim Burton’s 1992 blockbuster hit Batman Returns, DeVito starred alongside Michelle Pfeiffer as the ruthless super villain, Penguin. Dressed in floor-length overcoats, leather gloves, and intricate neck scarves, DeVito’s memorable costumes were designed by well-known costume designers Mary Vogt and Bob Ringwood. Ringwood also did the costume design for David Lynch’s 1984 movie, Dune, based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel of the same name. In fact, a 2020 film adaptation of the book is currently in the works starring Timothée Chalamet in the main role.
For five years DeVito held the role of disgruntled New York City taxi dispatcher Louie De Palma in the television sitcom, Taxi. His outfits, simple yet recognizable, often consisted of patterned ties, tweed coats, and pink button-down shirts. Besides DeVito, the show featured a long list of other household names including Christopher Lloyd, who was famously in Back to the Future, popular comedian Andy Kaufman, Who’s the Boss?’s Tony Danza, and more. Although pegged as a humorous show, the series also addressed many important issues such as drug addiction, immigration, single parenthood, and racism.
In the 1996 classic, Matilda, DeVito not only played Matilda’s incredibly obnoxious father, Harry Wormwood, but he directed, produced, and narrated the film as well. However, just as memorable as his roles in front of and behind the camera were his character’s costume choices. Designed by costume designer Jane Ruhm, who also was responsible for the outfits in Say Anything, DeVito was decked out in checkered jackets, eccentric ties, and brightly colored suits for his role as the conniving car salesman.
Premiere of Sliding Doors, 1998
DeVito proved once again he is king of the cap when he arrived at the New York premiere for the 1998 film Sliding Doors which starred Gwyneth Paltrow. DeVito, pictured wearing a branded cap, colorful shirt, and dark suit, was the producer for the movie’s soundtrack which featured talent such as Elton John, Jamiroquai, and Dido. His hat, which is embroidered with the name of the film, is just one from his varied collection — DeVito is often photographed around town wearing a number of logo baseball caps, including ones that read “Democracy Now!,” “Asbury Park, New Jersey,” “TEACH,” “Garden State,” and more.
Los Angeles Premiere of Matilda, 1996
Not only were DeVito’s costumes in the movie Matilda iconic, but the looks he wore to the premieres were as well. Further cementing his love of the baseball cap, DeVito showed up with Rhea Perlman to the Los Angeles premiere of the film in a olive green Matilda hat, a black and white striped short-sleeved button-down, and black pants. He loved the cap so much he even went on to wear it to the movie’s London premiere later that year.
Printed Button-down Shirts
Besides the baseball cap, DeVito may also be the master of the patterned button-down shirt — from the street to the red carpet, he’s worn them all over. Throughout the years his button-down choices have included bold prints in bright colors, neutral patterns in muted tones, eccentric picks with colorful accents, and everything in between. In this 90s photo he is seen in one of his iconic button-down selections while out with his family.
Bonus: Ongo Gablogian in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Since 2005, DeVito has had an ongoing TV presence in the form of Frank Reynolds, the foul mouthed father figure to the gang (OK, maybe less of a father figure and more just biological father of Dennis, Dee, and possibly Charlie — Frank is utterly un-fatherly). Frank has many iconic moments, but fashion-wise, our favorite has to be Ongo Gablogian, the demonic art collector ("awt collecta") dreamed up to con a gallerist. "We're just air conditioners, I mean after all, we're just walking around on the planet conditioning the air," he muses looking at the AC unit. Truer words have never been spoken.