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Carla Tortelli
Portrayer Rhea Perlman
First seen Give Me A Ring Sometime - Cheers
Last seen Cheerful Goodbyes - Frasier
Duration 1982-2002
Date of birth -
Occupation Waitress
Family {{{Family}}}

Carla Maria Victoria Angelina Teresa Apollonia Lozupone Tortelli LeBec, known as Carla Tortelli, is a waitress on the American television show Cheers, portrayed by Rhea Perlman. Outwardly, at least, Carla is a mean-spirited woman who expresses disdain for many (perhaps even most) people. In a draft script for one episode, writer David Lloyd summed up her character by instructing "Carla says something really crass and stupid here and we move on before the audience hates her."[2] She had four children when the series started and eight children when it ended.

Carla appeared in all 270 episodes of Cheers between 1982-1993 and guest-starred on one episode of the spinoff show Frasier ("Cheerful Goodbyes"). She has also appeared on St. Elsewhere ("Cheers"), The Simpsons ("Fear of Flying"),[3] and the very short-lived Cheers spinoff The Tortellis.[4]

[edit] Character biography[]

Carla grew up in the Federal Hill section of Providence, RI. Her father's name was "Benito" and her mother's maiden name was "Mussolini". According to her mother, Carla was named after her grandmother's mule. Carla has a younger sister, Annette (also played by Perlman).[5] She also has another sister named Angeline and at least two brothers including one named Sal.[6] She also has a nephew named Frankie whom Lilith and Rebecca were attracted to when he worked at the bar.[7] When the show began she had four children,[8] and when the show ended, she was the mother of eight children: Anthony (Timothy Williams), Serafina (Leah Remini), Gino (Josh Lozoff),[8] Anne Marie (Risa Littman) , Lucinda (Sabrina Wiener) (all fathered by Nick Tortelli), Ludlow (Jarrett Lennon) [fathered by Frasier's mentor Dr. Bennett Ludlow], and twins Elvis (Danny Kramer) and Jesse (Thomas Tulak) {fathered by Eddie Lebec}. A devoted and often-disappointed Boston Red Sox fan,[9] she became friends with Sam during his baseball days, at least five years before the show's start,[8] and came to work for him at Cheers when he began working there after his retirement.

Carla was both feisty and highly superstitious. She expressed a particular dislike for Diane Chambers, often referring to her by derogatory nicknames such as: The Stick, Whitey, Pencil-Neck, Fish-face, and Gozzel-head. She also had a long-standing dislike of Cliff Clavin. The only regulars she seemed to be friendly with were Norm Peterson and Coach, who were still not totally immune to her scathing wit. In several episodes, however, Carla showed a vulnerable side. In the cold open for the 10th Season episode, "Unplanned Parenthood," Carla came into Cheers early to set up the bar. She turned on a cheerful song from the jukebox and danced across the tables, smiling and laughing -- only to naturally return to her acidic ways when others came in. Also in the season 9 episode "Pitch it again Sam" she broke down crying when reminiscing about coach.

Carla seems willing to commit a crime if she thinks she can get away with it. In the episode following Frasier's and Lilith's initial separation, we learn that, while Frasier was sleeping in the Cheers office, Carla stole his Rolex watch and class ring.

[edit] Romantic life[]

Carla's promiscuity and sexual prowess (if not odd sexual tastes) was a running gag. She described herself as a "fast breeder",[10] and gave birth four times during the show's run, each pregnancy produced by a different man. She likes dominant men; she tells Sam that "every woman wants to be controlled...Women like power".[11] Despite this, she is depicted as being fairly unlucky when it came to dating, since most of the men she dated has one flaw or another. In the episode "Affairs of the Heart" in season two, she meets a man named Henry "Hank" Zenzola whom she is reluctant to date because of her previous bad luck in the dating circuit. She decides to date him anyway after Diane's urging, only to discover that he has a heart problem that prevents him from any exertion (sex included). After the death of her second husband, her attempts to date Red Sox player Darryl Mead are thwarted by paranoid hallucinations of her second husband appearing to her in various places. She takes this as a "sign" and breaks off the relationship. On her luck with men, Carla remarked that men usually ignore her (on one occasion, she noted about one man who didn't reciprocate feelings: "It's as if I slept with him."). Despite this, Carla is resilient and, on more than one occasion, tells anecdotes in which she punishes men for not treating her well. (Of her notorious first husband, after a story about how he had treated her poorly, she tells Sam that she "got him back" by marrying him.)

At the time the series began, Carla had already divorced her first husband, Nick Tortelli (played by Dan Hedaya). Nick was a sleazy and obnoxious man who was excessively hairy (in the episode "Battle of the Exes", Carla shows Diane a picture of him and his new fiance Loretta. Diane contemptuously remarks that Loretta is naked, to which Carla responds that Nick is, as well. Diane, stunned, comments, "I thought he was wearing mohair pajamas." Despite Nick's inherent flaws and their apparently antagonistic relationship, he and Carla have a passionate sex life, which is often remarked on. Carla had five children with Nick, the eldest of which, Anthony (played by Timothy Williams), bears a striking resemblance to him. The fifth child was fathered after she and Nick had divorced and was the first to be born while the show was running. In an effort to ensure that the child was supported financially, she convinced a cybernetics professor, Marshall, that he was the father. Marshall proposes marriage but the ruse was discovered by Diane, who embarrassed Carla into revealing the truth. After Marshall leaves angrily, the patrons of Cheers took up a collection, declaring the baby "theirs" by sponsorship.

Carla's second husband was Eddie LeBec, an ice hockey player. Carla and Eddie met during the show's fifth season and began dating while Eddie was on a winning streak. Unfortunately, once they began dating, Eddie's streak came to an end, and because both were superstitious, they ended their relationship in order to avoid ruining Eddie's ability to play. They reconciled shortly thereafter and began a practice of breaking up before every game to avoid the "curse".

Eddie and Carla married in the show's sixth season after it was revealed that Carla was pregnant with twins. They remained together until Eddie was killed by a Zamboni while attempting to save the life of the team's mascot in the eighth season. At the funeral, it was revealed that he had cheated on Carla while away with the ice show that he had joined after being released from the Bruins. He had married his mistress, Gloria, out of obligation after he had impregnated her with twins. Carla went back to her previous married name ("Tortelli") to avoid being confused with the other "Mrs. LeBec".

Later in the series, Carla becomes unaccountably attracted to John Allen Hill (played by Keene Curtis) -- possibly because of his similarly acidic personality -- who runs Melville's seafood restaurant upstairs from Cheers. Sam even finds him as an overnight guest in Carla's house.