Rhea Perlman was born in Coney Island, Brooklyn, the daughter of Adele (born 1922), a bookkeeper, and Philip Perlman (1919–2015), a Polish immigrant who was a manager at a doll parts factory. She grew up in Bensonhurst in a Jewish family with additional roots in Russia. She has a sister, Heide, who is a television writer, story editor, and producer who worked on Cheers, Frasier and The Tracey Ullman Show. In the mid-1980s, their parents moved to Los Angeles and their father became an extra on Cheers. His character became known by his real name, Phil, and he managed to get a few lines over the years as he appeared in more than 30 episodes. He created a second career as a character actor, appearing in several films and television shows, including Throw Momma from the Train, Hoffa, and Frasier.