Rhea Perlman is still in the game and thankful for it.
“In the last 10 years and actually the last five there have been more [parts for women]. Not much more than that, but in the old days there weren’t any after a certain age,” the 74-year-old tells Yahoo Life. “I got to do a few things this past year and I was really excited that you’re still working — you don’t know, as an actor, how much you will work when you get older, especially as a woman. The men seem to be doing quite well – they keep working.”
Perlman has a top-secret role in the finale of the Peacock mystery series Expressionless face, aired Thursday. She also appeared in Tuesday’s episode of Accusable, an anthology crime drama in which we see the perspective of a crime from the defendant’s point of view. Perlman plays a comedy club owner who becomes embroiled in a lawsuit when a comedian accuses another comedian of assault.
“[My character] takes the attitude that I would have taken back in the day: If this is your career and someone has attacked you that could hurt you in your career — you don’t say anything about it,” she explains. “Being a woman, it takes a long time to complain to anyone but your friends that someone is inappropriate. I quit my job [outside of acting] above that. But now I have to play the role of a woman who has the opposite attitude to what women are doing after #MeToo.”
Perlman also recently appeared in It’s always sunny in Philadelphia — and some may wonder what took so long, since she’s been married to star Danny DeVito since 1982. The couple officially separated in 2017, but there are no plans to divorce. Perlman says she and DeVito, who are “extremely family-oriented” and enjoy spending time with their three children, value their time alone.
“I like that my husband is not always here – I like to see each other when we want,” she explains. “He doesn’t have to take me to every event and I don’t have to take him. We can do separate things and still have a really great time when we’re together.”
She admits that “it’s great to have the freedom to do what you want, watch what you want, not turn on the TV if you don’t want to. But I have to say there are times when I miss her,” she says of her marriage. “It’s a mixed bag.”
When it comes to the pressure to fit into the industry standard of beauty, Matilda the star says she’s not overdoing it.
“I just don’t look that way,” Perlman says. “Unless I’ve had complete plastic surgery, there’s no way I’m not going to be who I am. There is no way not to be who you are if you want to be true to yourself and be okay with it. Do I look at myself in the mirror when I put on makeup and say, “Why do I have this under my eyes?” You’re constantly judging your looks in this business, but also, I think women in the everyone the business judges their appearance – it’s not just show business.”
As for her take on plastic surgery in general, Perlman’s philosophy is to do what’s best for you. Although she admits that “it’s really hard to see yourself getting older”, she emphasizes focusing more on staying fit – she went under the knife to have her knees replaced, for example.
“I like to play sports and be really active, go for long walks and do a lot of yoga and be flexible – that’s the most important thing for me in terms of feeling good and being healthy,” she says. “I’m pretty good at eating healthy, but I have a sweet tooth and I don’t stay away from things. I’m doing whatever I like at the moment.”
Accusable airs on Fox and is available to stream on Hulu. Expressionless face is passed on to Peacock.
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