It’s been 40 years since “Taxi” hit ABC and introduced us to names who’d go on to become some of the most well-known in Hollywood today.
“Wow, it’s crazy, it really is. The 40th anniversary of ‘Taxi,’ ” exclaims Tony Danza, who made his television series debut in the workplace comedy on Sept. 12, 1978.
Danza, as Tony Banta, appeared alongside a stacked cast of Judd Hirsch (Alex), Danny DeVito (Louie), Marilu Henner (Elaine), Andy Kaufman (Latka), Jeff Conaway (Bobby), Carol Kane (Simka), and Christopher Lloyd (Reverend Jim), among others. The group spent five years together on the New York City set, and filmed more than 100 episodes, between ’78 and ’83.
“These are some of my absolute dearest, dearest friends and I cherish them and I miss them, and the people who aren’t here with us anymore, very much,” the Brooklyn-born actor, 67, says. Hollywood lost Kaufman, J. Alan Thomas and Conaway in 1984 and 2007 and 2011, respectively.
“In fact, right now, Carol, Chris, Danny, me and Judd all live pretty close to each other in New York and Marilu is in town for a while, it’s really great,” he adds.
The Emmy-winning comedy, which moved from ABC to NBC during the course of five seasons, centered around DeVito’s cabbie dispatcher character Louie and the group of down-on-their-luck misfits who found themselves working in the taxi business while waiting for their big breaks. The premise for the sitcom was based on a 1975 New York Magazine article “Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet” about a group of cabbies who worked at Greenwich Village’s Dover Taxi Garage #2.
While Danza’s character was awaiting his big break, the role itself was serving as a game-changer for his acting career.
“I’m so fortunate. I mean I feel so blessed,” says Danza, who went on to appear in “Who’s the Boss?” one year after parting ways with his career-launching prize-fighter/cabbie role in “Taxi.”
Four decades later, he’s gearing up for the Sept. 21 debut of his Netflix comedy “The Good Cop.” “I started when there were three networks, now I’m on a streaming service.”
All five seasons of “Taxi” are currently on Hulu for streaming.