Dom DeLuise, the comedian who became a household name in the ’70s and ’80s for his small but memorable roles in Blazing Saddles, Cannonball Run and Spaceballs, died late Monday night in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 75.
“It’s easy to mourn to his death, but easier to remember a time when he made you laugh,” his family said in a statement.
The Brooklyn-born DeLuise got his big break in 1964 as a as a regular performer on TV’s The Entertainers. He soon became a regular guest star on The Dean Martin Summer Show. The exposure led to Deluise’s landing his own eponymous comedy program on CBS that lasted for a season.
In the ’70s, DeLuise moved to the big screen, becoming a regular fixture in various Mel Brooks films. After meeting Burt Reynolds on the set of Brooks’s Silent Movie, the two actors became friends and worked together in several films, including two Cannonball Run movies, Smokey and the Bandit II and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
DeLuise, who often made jokes about his rotund figure, was an avid chef who wrote four cookbooks. He also wrote seven children’s books.
He married actress Carol Arthur in 1965. His three sons – Peter, Michael and David – are all actors.
DeLuise’s death was first reported by TMZ.com.