Danny DeVito will be presented with a Donostia Award at the 66th San Sebastian Festival on Saturday September 22, and the following day, he will present his latest film Smallfoot at the Festival.
The award recognises a career of almost five decades related to acting in theatre, film and television, telling stories as an actor, producer and director. The Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner is known for his roles in television series Taxi and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and movies such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Terms of Endearment, Romancing The Stone, Twins, Ruthless People, and Tin Men.
A well-known face to the public for roles including the charismatic Penguin in Batman, or Schwarzenegger’s twin brother, he has led a versatile career during which he has worked under the orders of directors like Milos Forman, Brian de Palma, Robert Zemeckis, Barry Levinson, Tim Burton, Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola and Todd Solondz.
He has also directed – and starred in – hugely emblematic films including The War of the Roses (1989), Hoffa (1992), Death to Smoochy (2002), Throw Momma from the Train (1987), Curmudgeons (2016), Duplex (2003), The Ratings Game (1984),and The World’s Greatest Lover (1977) as well as producing films by Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh and the self-same Forman. He produced, directed and acted for Matilda (1996), Hoffa (1992) and Curmudgeons (2016).
A principal of Jersey Film’s 2nd Avenue, successor company of Jersey Films which produced Erin Brockovich (2000) which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, Pulp Fiction (1994), Out of Sight (1998), Freedom Writers (2007), Garden State (2004), Along Came Polly (2004), Living Out Loud (1998) and others. DeVito served as a producer and co-starred in Get Shorty (1995) Man on the Moon (1999), Be Cool (2005), Even Money (2006) and Drowning Mona (2000).
One of his first roles in the seventh art was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975). He earned fame for his part in the TV series Taxi (1978-1983), he was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Emmy every year the show was on and took home one of each. Featured in the cast of films such as the Oscar-winning Terms of Endearment (James L. Brooks, 1983), Romancing the Stone (Robert Zemeckis, 1984) or Ruthless People (1986), he directed his first film for the big screen, the Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated Throw Momma from the Train (1987).
Next, he helmed and starred in The War of the Roses (1989) and Hoffa (1992), both selected for the Berlin Festival’s official competition, and Matilda (1996) based on the book by Roald Dahl. His career as a filmmaker coexisted with his parts in films like Wise Guys (Brian de Palma, 1986), Tin Men (Barry Levinson, 1987), Twins (Ivan Reitman, 1988), Other People’s Money (Norman Jewison, 1991), Batman Returns (Tim Burton, 1992), The Rainmaker (Francis Ford Coppola), L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson, 1997), The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola, 1999), Big Fish (2003), again with Tim Burton, or, more recently, The Comedian (Taylor Hackford, 2016) and Weiner-Dog (Todd Solondz, 2016). Next year he will premiere the eagerly-awaited version of Dumbo, in which he will once again embody a circus director, as he did in Big Fish; it will be his third collaboration with Burton.
Since the 90s, he has also been involved as a producer for films including Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994), Get Shorty (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1995), Gattaca (Andrew Niccol, 1997), Man on the Moon (Milos Forman, 1999), Erin Brockovich (Steven Soderbergh, 2000), Oscar nominee for Best Film, Garden State (Zach Braff, 2004) and Freedom Writers (Richard LaGravenese, 2007).
DeVito has also put his voice to animated films including Space Jam (1996), Hercules (1997), The Lorax (2012) and his new film he will bring to San Sebastian for the first time, Smallfoot, to be screened in the Velodrome.
Image: Actor Danny DeVito on the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia panel at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con in San Diego, California. / Gage Skidmore