The Cast of Taxi
If you’re a student, a housewife/husband or unemployed you may have noticed, nestled in schedule you’ll find Taxi, a classic US comedy that focused on the everyday lives of the employees of the Sunshine Cab Company in New York during the late seventies and early eighties.
Taxi was inspired by an article "Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet", published in a 1975 issue of New York magazine. The show debuted in 1978 and before it came to an end in 1983, it won 18 Emmy awards, including three for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Essentially the show was a huge phenomenon, with many of its superb ensemble cast going on to becoming international stars in their own right. But where are they now?
Alex Rieger - Judd Hirsch
The guy at the centre of the show, Alex is the one everyone else turns to for advice. Estranged from his philandering father, he is a recovered compulsive gambler who resigned himself to driving a cab for the rest of his life.
The role of Alex put Judd Hirsch on the map, a role for which he won the Emmy Award for Lead Actor in a Comedy on two occasions. He went on to star in the US remake of the British sitcom ‘Dear John’ and won a Golden Globe for his trouble.
An Oscar nominated actor, Judd appeared in several films, and most of you will recognise him as Jeff Goldblum’s Jewish dad in 'Independence Day'. He is still acting, most recently voicing himself in 'Family Guy' and making a brilliant cameo in the debut episode of the doomed but sublime drama 'Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip'. Here’s what he looks like now.
Louie De Palma - Danny DeVito
The head dispatcher for the Cab Company, Louie spends most of his time engaged in banter with the cabbies. With no morals to speak of, no deed is too low for this tiny little maniac. Louie lives with his mother, but don’t be fooled; under the amoral exterior beats a heart of pure lead.
Possibly the most famous actor of the bunch, Danny DeVito went on to star in a host of movies during the 80s and 90s, such as 'Romancing The Stone' and its sequel 'Jewel Of The Nile' opposite Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner; and 'Twins' alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger.
We’d also like to mention his truly horrific and mesmerising turn as the Penguin in Tim Burton’s 'Batman Returns', a performance that saw him totally disappear into the role, long before Heath Ledger did the same as the Joker.
Danny DeVito still works in the industry but more so behind the scenes. To date he has directed six movies and in 2006 he began a partnership with Morgan Freeman making documentaries. He also co-owns a restaurant named DeVito South Beach in Florida. Here he is now.
Elaine O'Connor Nardo - Marilu Henner
A divorced mother of two, Elaine struggles to cope while trying to realize her ambitions in the field of fine art.
After Taxi, Marilu hosted a short-lived daytime chat show and has written eight books on diet and health, the last of which hit the shelves in 2008. So even though she’s moved away from acting, she cans till be seen occasionally popping up on the chat show circuit in the States. Here’s her current website.
Tony Banta - Tony Danza
Tony is a sweet-natured but slow boxer who has little success in the sport. In fact, Louie makes a lot of money betting against him. Finally, the boxing commission takes away his license because he has been knocked out one too many times.
In a spot of type casting, Tony Danza actually was a professional boxer before turning to acting. After his run on the show, he went on to star in the sitcom ‘Who’s The Boss’, which was remade over here as ‘The Upper Hand’. Since then he has hosted his own talk show (not another one) and has appeared on stage and screen sporadically.
In 2008 Tony and his son Marc published a cookbook “Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto: Tony Danza's Father-Son Cookbook”, but we doubt that’s going to be a threat to Jamie Oliver any time soon… Here he is now.
Bobby Wheeler - Jeff Conaway
Bobby is a shallow, conceited actor who never really made it. The character left the show after season three, but continued to make guest appearances in season four.
Jeff is best known not for this role but for playing Kenickie in the 1978 hit film 'Grease'. After his character was written out of Taxi, Jeff made a few appearances in forgettable films and by the mid 80s he was battling with substance abuse – a war that he has been fighting on and off ever since.
In early 2008 he appeared alongside other celebrites in a reality show called “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”. Christ. Still, Jeff’s still alive and fighting the good fight. Somewhere. Here’s what he looks like now.
Reverend Jim Ignatowski - Christopher Lloyd
Jim is a refugee from the Love Generation and lives in a world of his own. Once a hard-working, serious student at Harvard University, one bite of a drug-laden brownie was enough to get him hooked and send him into a downward spiral.
Three-time Emmy Award winning actor, we all know Christopher Lloyd for his post-Taxi career playing Doc Brown in the Back To The Future trilogy opposite Michael; J. Fox. He also his a sinister job as Judge Doom in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”.
Like his character Jim, Lloyd lives in a world of his own and is a fiercely private man who rarely makes public appearances. You might like to know that his nephew, Sam Lloyd, plays Ted Buckland, the lawyer on Scrubs.
Lloyd has continued acting, playing Uncle Ester in the remake of The Addams Family and most recently he was reunited onscreen with his former Taxi co-star, Judd Hirsch in Numb3rs, while on stage he played Ebenezer Scrooge in a 2008 production of “A Christmas Carol” in Los Angeles alongside Roseanne’s John Goodman and Frasier’s Jane Leeves. Here Doc Brown is now.
Latka Gravas - Andy Kaufman
Latka is an immigrant from a very strange land, who works as a mechanic, fixing the taxis and spends all the time speaking in a very silly accent.
Easily the most controversial member of the cast, Kaufman was a stand up comedian (although he never thought of himself as such) and performance artist who was famous for executing elaborate pranks in public.
The character Latka was based on a creation of his known as ‘Foreign Man’, which had wowed the writers of 'Taxi' so much they wrote in the character for him to play.
Kaufman agreed, but hated sitcoms and gave Latka a multiple personality disorder, allowing him to play many different characters. He also gained fame playing an audience-abusing lounge singer Tony Clifton.
After Taxi, Kaufman appeared on a sketch show in 1981 called 'Fridays' but caused friction with the other performers by refusing to learn his lines and improvise instead. In 1983 He was diagnosed with lung cancer and he died in 1984, however many believed – and some still do – that this was just another stunt and that he has faked his own death.
Since then he has been dubbed the pioneer of stunt comedy, the subject of many books, the REM song 'Man On The Moon' and the 1999 biopic of the same name, starring Jim Carrey as Andy himself. It’s quite good.