The Real DeVito

Last Friday night, Danny DeVito returned to Miami to unveil his new line of Limoncello. The drink was inspired by his funny arrival on The View , several months back, after spending a night on the town with George Clooney. DeVito was all over the place, ribbing the president, recounting his marital escapades in the Lincoln bedroom, and having a grand time doing it.

The stiffs on The View attributed his behavior to him being sloshed. Maybe, but I know better. That’s just him.

Growing up in a small, rich private school in Hollywood, California, I had the pleasure of attending school, kindergarden through the 12th grade, with some of DeVito’s kids.

They came up sweet and well-adjusted. Their family made a big deal about sticking together, throwing large parties and being nice to everybody. No scandals to report. DeVito managed to always have fun in Hollywood –to explore his own projects, to be friendly with everyone and put money into smart things. He always has fun where he is, it seems.

His house was always full of dogs and children and pleasant older ladies who would sit around the breakfast table, chatting and preparing big meals.

So it was weird to visit his ritzy restaurant on Ocean Drive.

He entered to room to much applause and began pouring tiny flared flutes full of the neon yellow potion. He regaled the clustered paparrazzi with tales of his father catching breakfast every morning off the New Jersey jetty and Sunday dinners at his home in Los Angeles. He described the Amalfi coast dotted yellow with lemons and his 20-year affair with the intoxicating syrup.

Reporters pressed for detail after detail. He obliged with smiles, scratched the lemon on the front of the bottle and inhaled deeply. Hours passed as he provided interview after interview.

The drink was sweet and, after three glasses, made my head feel as though it had forgotten all about my body. I finally pressed through the wall of seriously altered bodies (plastic blondes wishing aloud that they could freeze themselves at 20) and extended a hand. He said hello with his usual warmth. And, as usual, DeVito gave the feeling of being the most sincere person in the room. --Calvin Godfrey

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse