"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" premiered back in 2005 and has gone on to become the longest running live-action comedy series in American TV history. Fans have spent the last 15 years laughing at the narcissistic hijinks of Dennis, Charlie, Mac, Dee and Frank as they run South Philly's most dysfunctional Irish bar. The cult favorite has turned its ensemble cast of Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson into household names — and introduced veteran actor Danny DeVito to a new generation of TV viewers. In honor of the show's 15th anniversary on Aug. 4, 2020, join Wonderwall.com as we take a look at how the lives of the cast have changed…
Stars Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney first met as aspiring actors in Los Angeles. The concept of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" came from a short film idea written by Glenn and Rob, and the trio originally shot a pilot with a digital camcorder at their own apartments. The funnymen shopped the pilot around before FX execs saw it and picked it up for a full season. The first season was written entirely by the three comedians and premiered in 2005. After concerns over low ratings, FX asked for a cast shake-up, and Danny DeVito entered the picture. Since then, the staff at Paddy's Pub have developed a cult following that has kept the show on the air ever since, even after a network move from FX to FXX in 2013. In May 2020, the comedy was renewed for a 15th season. In the 15 years since the show's premiere, the ensemble has each built up a stacked resume outside of their Philly-based show.
Rob McElhenney created "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and also serves as a writer, executive producer and star — he plays Ronald "Mac" McDonald. The always-insecure Mac is one of the co-owners of the group's Irish pub as well as the bar's bouncer who's always trying to prove his toughness while seeking the approval of everyone else.
Rob McElhenney started his career with minor roles in films like 1998's "A Civil Action," 1997's "The Devil's Own" and 2000's "Wonder Boys," although his scenes were cut from the last two. He also had guest-starring parts on hit shows like "Law & Order" and "ER" before coming up with the concept for "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." While most of his time is spent showrunning, executive producing, writing and starring on "Sunny," the Philadelphia native also found time to guest star on other TV favorites like "Lost," "The Mindy Project," "Fargo" and "Game of Thrones." Aside from acting, he's produced TV shows including "How to Be a Gentleman," "Unsupervised" and "The Cool Kids" alongside Charlie Day. Rob currently also stars on the Apple+ comedy "Mythic Quest," which he created, wrote and produced with Charlie. "Mythic Quest," which debuted in 2020, has been renewed for a second season. He married "Sunny" co-star Kaitlin Olson in 2008; the pair have two sons. In 2009, the couple bought a bar in Philadelphia bar and named it Mac's Tavern after Rob's character on the long-running series.
RELATED: The best '90s TV shows to stream
Charlie Day plays Charlie Kelly, co-owner of the group's Irish pub. His oft-enraged illiterate character is addicted to alcohol and glue, has a list of psychological issues and does most of the actual work and maintenance at the bar. Charlie also serves as a writer and executive producer on the show.
RELATED: Movie stars who were on TV sitcoms
Charlie Day landed small TV parts on hits like "Law & Order," "Third Watch" and "Reno 911" before launching "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." In 2003, the New York City-born actor landed a co-starring role on the sitcom "Luis." The comedy was short-lived, however, allowing Charlie the freedom to do "Sunny." In 2010, he scored his first major big-screen role in the Drew Barrymore romcom "Going the Distance." Charlie followed it with a lead role opposite Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis in the hit "Horrible Bosses." In 2013, the comedian lent his voice to the Pixar sequel "Monsters University" and starred in the big-budget action pic "Pacific Rim." Then came parts in animated success "The Lego Movie" in 2014 as well as "Horrible Bosses 2" that same year. In 2017, Charlie had a lead role opposite Ice Cube in the comedy "Fist Fight." Shortly after came the sequels "Pacific Rim: Uprising" and "The Lego Movie 2." More recently, Charlie starred in the 2018 thriller "Hotel Artemis." Outside of acting, he produced the TV shows "How to Be a Gentleman" and "Unsupervised" and created sitcom "The Cool Kids" in 2018. Charlie currently writes and produces the Apple+ comedy "Mythic Quest" alongside Rob McElhenney. He will next make his directorial debut with the comedy "El Tonto." Charlie married his "Sunny" co-star Mary Elizabeth Ellis in 2006. The pair have a son.
Kaitlin Olson provides a shot of estrogen as Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds. Dee is the bar's waitress and initially serves as the group's voice of reason before becoming complicit in their morally corrupt hijinks.
Kaitlin Olson first shaped her acting chops as a member of famed improv group The Groundlings before landing a blink-and-you'll-miss-it part in 2000's "Coyote Ugly" and a recurring role on "The Drew Carey Show" in 2002. While doing "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," the Oregon-born actress has also had parts on TV shows like "The Riches," "Family Guy," "Brickleberry," "New Girl," "Bob's Burgers" and "The Simpsons." She also had scene-stealing parts in films like "Leap Year" in 2010, "The Heat" in 2013 and "Vacation" in 2015. In 2017, Kaitlin landed the lead role on the FOX comedy "The Mick," which ran for two seasons. She also lent her voice to the Pixar hit "Finding Dory" in 2016. In 2020, Kaitlin had a major arc on the 10th season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and starred in the Quibi comedy "Flipped." She and "Sunny" co-star Rob McElhenney met making the show and secretly dated during the second season before marrying in 2008. They now have two sons and own a Philadelphia bar called Mac's Tavern. Funnily enough, Kaitlin went into labor with their first child while at a Phillies baseball game.
Glenn Howerton is the bar's other co-owner, Dennis Reynolds. Dennis is Mac and Charlie's childhood bestie, as well as Dee's twin, and happens to be equal parts narcissistic, superficial, hypersexual and selfish. Dennis — who's perhaps the one in the group with the biggest mental health issues — often leads most of the gang's schemes.
Glenn Howerton's first gig was a lead role on the "That '70s Show" spinoff "That '80s Show," which only lasted one season. He then had a guest arc on "ER" before teaming up with Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day to write and produce "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." The Juilliard grad has since graced the big screen in films like 2005's "Must Love Dogs" and "Serenity," 2006's "Crank," 2008's "The Strangers" and 2010's "Black Swan." Glenn has also voiced a supporting role on "The Cleveland Show" and guested on TV hits like "Family Guy," "The Mindy Project," "Fargo" and "House of Lies." Since 2018, the Japan native, who's the son of an American fighter pilot, has starred on the NBC comedy "A.P. Bio," which he also produces. A third season will air on streaming platform Peacock in 2020. Earlier in 2020, he had a villainous turn in the horror-comedy "The Hunt." In 2009, Glenn married actress Jill Latiano, whom he met when she guest starred on "Sunny." The couple have two sons.
Danny DeVito rounds out the crew. He joined the series in season 2 as Frank Reynolds, the legal father of Dennis and Dee who might be the biological father of roommate Charlie. A master manipulator who's embraced his "feral" nature, he's often responsible for getting the group into trouble.
Danny DeVito was an established character actor long before taking on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." The New Jersey native earned his first film role in 1970 with "Dream of Glass" and has worked consistently ever since. His acclaimed work includes "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in 1975, "Car Wash" in 1976, "Terms of Endearment" in 1983, "Romancing the Stone" in 1984, "Ruthless People" in 1986 and "Twins" in 1988. Danny also starred on the hit sitcom "Taxi" from 1978 to 1983, winning both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his work. In the 1990s, the actor garnered major buzz for his performance as Penguin in 1992's "Batman Returns," the comedies "Get Shorty" in 1995 and "Matilda" in 1996, and award-winning dramas like "L.A. Confidential" in 1997 and "Man on the Moon" in 1999. Since then, he has taken roles in big-screen comedies like 2001's "What's the Worst That Could Happen?," 2005's "Be Cool," 2010's "When in Rome" and 2016's "Weiner-Dog." He's also used his vocal talents in animated favorites like 1996's "Space Jam," 1997's "Hercules" and 2012's "The Lorax." Danny is also a seasoned director, having helmed "Throw Momma from the Train" in 1987, "The War of the Roses" in 1989, "Duplex" in 2003 and "Matilda," among many others. He formed the production company Jersey Films in 1992 with then-wife Rhea Perlman, going on to produce hits like "Pulp Fiction" in 1994, "Garden State" in 2004 and "Erin Brockovich" in 2000, which earned Danny an Oscar nomination for best picture. More recently, the funnyman appeared in "Dumbo" and "Jumanji: The Next Level" in 2019. Danny and Rhea married in 1982 but separated in 2017. They have three children.
You can't talk about the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" troublemakers without discussing The Waitress, played by Mary Elizabeth Ellis. The Waitress is the show's most frequently recurring character, and the coffee shop employee is often involved with the group's schemes as the victim of Charlie's affection/stalking.
Mary Elizabeth Ellis had only appeared on episodes of "Reno 911" and "Cracking Up" before landing "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Since being cast in the series, she's built a solid resume as a character actress, appearing on other hit shows like "House," "Without a Trace," "Cold Case," "Perfect Couples," "New Girl," "Happy Endings" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." In 2008, the Mississippi-born actress co-wrote and starred in the indie drama "A Quiet Little Marriage." She starred alongside Rob Lowe on the short-lived comedy "The Grinder" and had a recurring role on Netflix's "Santa Clarita Diet." She'll next appear in the Disney+ fantasy film "Godmothered." Mary married her "Sunny" love interest, Charlie Day, in 2006. The couple have a son.