Beloved for her Emmy-winning role in the hit TV show Cheers, Rhea Perlman still relishes all the fun her career offers – like learning magic tricks for her latest role as a magician in coming-of-age comedy Marvelous and the Black Hole. Wed 40 years to Danny DeVito – amicably separated the past nine years – the couple are proud parents to Lucy, 39, Grace, 37, and Jacob, 33. Perlman, 74, tells Senior Planet about a day in the life, learning magic, working with family, and why she has no plans to retire:
Q: What’s an average day in your life?
RHEA: The first thing I do is drink a giant cup of French roast coffee. I have to have it. I have a dog who doesn’t like to go on walks so I’ll often walk without him. I always do some exercise whether it’s yoga or hiking in the mountains close to my house. Then I’ll do appointments or calls. Eating lots of small meals and doing something physical gives me lots of energy. And then I’ll probably spend the rest of my day visiting friends or family.
Q: You play a magician in Marvelous and the Black Hole. Will we see you perform at The Magic Castle any time soon?!
RHEA: Ha ha no, but I did learn all the sleight of hand tricks I do as Margot in the movie. I can’t do them today because they were really hard and you have to practice, practice, practice. But it’s fun to learn new tricks. I’ve always loved magic and Kayla Drescher was my coach. She’s one of very few successful female magicians at the Magic Castle in LA, and on TV too.
Q: In Marvelous and the Black Hole you play a surrogate mom to Miya Cech’s teenage delinquent Sammy. Did you channel your own maternal instincts?
RHEA: For sure. I can’t get away from channeling myself as a mom. Being a mom is such a big part of my life – and really my favorite role.
Q: Your daughter Lucy has a small role in the film and already has many acting credits and your son Jake is producer? Is it fun to mix it up in the family?
RHEA: Yes, they’re both co-producing an animated film with Danny called Little Demon, which comes out on FX this summer. Lucy does one of the main voices (alongside Danny and Aubrey Plaza). It’s very out there!
Q: Is your daughter Grace following in the family footsteps too?
RHEA: No, Gracie is an artist. She’s done all kinds of art, and has done very well as a painter for the last few years and has great representation…It’s always amazing to watch what my kids do.
Q: How did you handle the pandemic?
RHEA: It was horrible. I hated it. But I had a great pod of people, and could see my entire family because my kids are all here in LA, as well as Gracie’s husband Andy and my sister who lives close by. I have two close friends I also saw because I knew they were very careful, and they knew I was too.
Q: Will you ever retire?
RHEA: I certainly don’t see it right now. Every time I get a job, it’s like a delightful surprise – even though it does happen quite frequently and you’d think I’d be used to it by now.
Q: What’s your secret to aging with attitude?
RHEA: I’ve been practicing yoga in various forms since I was 16, so that’s a big part of my life. I did it through the entire pandemic through an app while there were no physical classes. Yoga always puts me in the right frame of mind and I try to do something physical every day which makes me feel good. And I always feel good when I have my family and friends around me.
Marvelous and the Black Hole is available in select theaters starting April 22nd and widely available on demand starting April 29th.
Gill Pringle began her career as a rock columnist for popular British newspapers, traveling the world with Madonna, U2 and Michael Jackson. Moving to Los Angeles 27 years ago, she interviews film and TV personalities for prestigious UK outlets, The Independent, The i-paper and The Sunday Times – and, of course, Senior Planet. A member of Critics Choice Association, BAFTA and AWFJ, she wrote the screenplay for 2016 Netflix family film, The 3 Tails Movie: A Mermaid Adventure. An award-winning writer, in 2021 she was honored by the Los Angeles Press Club with 1st prize at the NAEJ Awards.
Photo: Courtesy of Nanu Segal