The Enduring Legacy of Rhea Perlman: A Look at Her Films

Rhea Perlman, a name synonymous with sharp wit and scene-stealing performances, has graced our screens for over four decades.  

Best known for her iconic role as Carla Tortelli on the beloved sitcom  Cheers (1982-1993), Perlman’s career extends far beyond this legendary bar.  

This article delves into the diverse filmography of Rhea Perlman, exploring her work in television shows, movies, and voice acting.

Rising Through the Ranks: Early Television Roles

Perlman’s television journey began in the late 1970s with appearances on shows like  Taxi (1978) and  ABC Afterschool Specials (1972-1987).  These early roles provided her with a platform to showcase her comedic timing and acting prowess.

Rhea Perlman in Taxi (1978)

Her breakout television role came in 1982 with Cheers, a show destined to become a cultural phenomenon.  

As Carla Tortelli, the sardonic yet oddly endearing head waitress, Perlman delivered unforgettable lines and perfectly complemented the show’s ensemble cast.  

Her portrayal of Carla earned her ten Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, winning four times (1984, 1985, 1986, and 1989) and This success cemented Perlman’s status as a comedic powerhouse.

Beyond Cheers: Exploring Television Diversity

Following the conclusion of Cheers in 1993, Perlman actively pursued diverse television roles.  She landed recurring roles on shows like  Frasier (1993-2004), a spin-off from Cheers featuring her former co-star Kelsey Grammer, and  Kirstie (2013), a short-lived sitcom starring Kirstie Alley.

Perlman also embraced dramatic roles, appearing in television movies like  To Grandmother’s House We Go (1992) and  A Place to Be Loved (1993) and She showcased her versatility by lending her voice to animated characters in shows like  The Simpsons (1989-present) and  Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995).

A New Millennium: Television Comebacks and Voice Acting Triumphs

The new millennium saw Perlman continue to entertain audiences on both live-action and animated television and She reunited with her television husband, Danny DeVito (who played Louie DePalma in Cheers), in the short-lived sitcom  Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (1995-1997).

Her voice acting career flourished with prominent roles in  Hey Arnold! The Movie (2002),  Robot Chicken (2005-present),  American Dad! (2005-present), and  Fish Hooks (2010-2014).  Perlman’s ability to breathe life into animated characters solidified her reputation as a talented voice actress.

Recent Years: Embracing New Challenges

In recent years, Perlman has continued to add to her impressive television resume and  She appeared in guest roles on popular shows like  The Mindy Project (2012-2017),  Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-2021), and  The Goldbergs (2013-present).

Her dedication to her craft is evident in her diverse filmography, showcasing her comedic genius, dramatic talent, and voice acting expertise.

Venturing Beyond the Small Screen: Rhea Perlman’s Film Career

While primarily known for her television work, Perlman has also carved a niche for herself in the film industry. 

There Goes the Neighborhood (1992) – 

A family comedy featuring Tim Robbins and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Canadian Bacon (1995) – 

A political satire directed by Michael Moore.

Matilda (1996) – 

A family-favorite film based on Roald Dahl’s children’s book, where Perlman portrays the cruel and conniving principal, Miss Agatha Trunchbull.


Q: What is Rhea Perlman best known for?

A:  Rhea Perlman is best known for her portrayal of the sarcastic waitress Carla Tortelli in the classic sitcom “Cheers” (1982-1993).

Q: Did Rhea Perlman appear in any movies before Cheers?

A: Yes!  She began her acting career in the early 1970s and had roles in films like “Hot Dogs for Gauguin” (1972) and “Taxi” (1978).

Q: Did Rhea Perlman work with her husband, Danny DeVito, before Cheers?

A:  No, “Cheers” was their first on-screen collaboration, though they met while working on separate plays in the late 1970s.

Q: How many seasons of Cheers did Rhea Perlman appear in?

A:  Rhea Perlman starred in all 11 seasons of Cheers, from 1982 to 1993.

Q: Did Rhea Perlman win any awards for her role in Cheers?

A: Absolutely!  She was nominated for ten Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, winning four and She was also nominated for a record six Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series.

Q: What are some other notable TV shows Rhea Perlman has been in?

A:  Her post-Cheers career includes appearances in shows like “Kirstie” (2013) and  “The Goldbergs” (2013-present), and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (2023).

Q: What kind of movies has Rhea Perlman acted in?

A:  She has a diverse filmography, with roles in comedies like “Canadian Bacon” (1995) and “Poms” (2019), dramas like “The Sessions” (2012), and even the recent live-action “Barbie” film (2023).

Q: Did Rhea Perlman work with her husband in any movies?

A: Yes!  They co-starred in the 1996 film “Matilda,” based on Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book.

Q: How many movies has Rhea Perlman been in?

A:  Rhea Perlman has a prolific film career, with over 70 film credits to her name (as of June 2024).

Q: Does Rhea Perlman do any voice acting?

A:  Yes!  She has lent her voice to characters in animated shows like “The Simpsons” (1994) and “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” (2021).

Q: What recent animated projects has Rhea Perlman been involved in?

A:  She voiced a character in the 2023 series “Curses!”

Q: Is Rhea Perlman still acting?

A:  Yes!  Despite her long career, Rhea Perlman remains active, with recent appearances in TV shows and films.

Q: What are some of Rhea Perlman’s most popular movies or TV shows according to fan ratings?

A:  Websites like IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes can show viewer ratings for her projects. And “Cheers” consistently ranks highly, along with films like “Matilda” and “Canadian Bacon.”

Q: Where can I find a complete list of Rhea Perlman’s filmography?

A:  Websites like IMDb or Wikipedia offer comprehensive listings of her movies and TV shows.

Q: Has Rhea Perlman won any awards besides her Emmy nominations?

A:  Yes!  She has received accolades throughout her career, including the American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Female in a Television Series for “Cheers.”

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