Onscreen we got to know Danny DeVito as the comical and unlikely hero in many films, but as it turns out, the man himself has a lot in common with his characters.
One person that can attest to that is one of the biggest child stars of the 1990s, Mara Wilson. The youngster, even though she started acting when she was six years old, soon caught attention for her mature performances and snagged roles in Mrs. Doubfire in 1993, and Miracle on 34th Street a year later.
In 1996, Mara got cast as Matilda in Danny’s adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl book, but sadly with the realization of a dream also came a challenging period in Mara’s life.
While Mara worked on the film, her mother got diagnosed with breast cancer. Being only eight years old at the time Mara took it hard, but Danny and his wife Rhea Perlman, who played her onscreen parents, took her under their wing.
When her parents needed to be at the hospital, Danny and Rhea looked after her. In Mara’s memoir that she published in 2016, “Where Am I Now?” she recalled the unconditional love and support they gave her as she wrote:
“I was eight years old. It was very hard. And they were very nice. While my mom was sick and in the hospital, they would invite me over and take care of me, and get my mind off things. I felt very familial.”
It was her mother’s dream to see her play Matilda, but sadly she died before they completed the movie. It troubled Mara that her mother didn’t live long enough to get her final wish, but Danny came to the rescue with a touching gesture.
Only years later did Mara find out that Danny went to her mother shortly before she died, and showed her a rough cut of the movie so that she would get her final wish.
The acting couple also has a daughter of their own named Lucy who followed in her parents’ footsteps and became an actress. She starred alongside her parents in the hysterical It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Loss and What I Wore, Love, and several others.
The 36-year-old had always found her parents to be supportive of the work she did and felt grateful as many of her fellow acting friends often felt misunderstood by their families.
They are always there for her when she needs them and calls Danny and Rhea her “gurus” who always remind her of her strength and to keep going.
However, with Lucy being the daughter of one of the most well-known people in the world, she admitted that there is something she never does on a first date.