Belfast Telegraph

DeVito's holy horror

Danny DeVito has difficult memories of being an altar boy as a youngster.

The 70-year-old actor was an altar server when he was growing up, but he doesn't have the best memories of that time. He jokes he was forced into it; although it ended up having a few surprising benefits.

"Well behaved? No I wasn't! I was an altar boy. They scared the sh*t out of you to do it. I was terrified not to be an altar boy, because I was afraid I was going to get in trouble," he laughed to US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who admitted he was also an altar boy for seven years.

"Did you whack the stuff [mimes drinking]? Did you go in the back and get the wine? You never did that? That's what started me off. That was the bad thing right there."

Danny then launched into a tale about his worst time as an altar boy. He'd often help with the 6am mass, which was difficult enough as it meant rising from bed very early.

On one occasion he arrived for a mass due to start at 6.30am, and there were only a few people in attendance - "four or five old ladies in shawls". That didn't matter to the young Danny; however the incident quickly became the scariest thing he's ever encountered.

"I go in, I sit in the second pew... and I hear a thud. And I turn around, and I look and there's a dead lady next to me. I swear to God! I didn't know she was dead right away, until I started shaking her. I said, 'Excuse me, miss, miss,' I was whispering. She's dead!" he recalled.

Danny had no idea what to do next, but realised he had to draw attention to his predicament. He decided the best course of action would be to tell the priest - a "bald-headed guy" from Italy who only spoke broken English. So Danny picked his way to the altar and attempted to relay the information.

"I go, 'Psst!' And I said, 'Tell him, there's a dead lady in the second pew.' And he turned around and he went [expletive]. So the altar boy got so nervous he kneeled on his cassock and the buttons popped off and whacked him in the back of the head... I got blamed for the lady dying!" he laughed.

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