Dead, Dominick “Dom” DeLuise on May 4, 2009 at the age of 76 at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. He was hospitalized at the time, suffering from kidney failure and respiratory problems due to complications from diabetes and high blood pressure.
He was an American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author.
DeLuise generally appeared in comedic parts, although an early appearance in the movie Fail-Safe as a nervous USAF technical sergeant showed a broader range.
His first acting credit was as a regular performer in the television show The Entertainers in 1964. He gained early notice for his supporting turn in the Doris Day film The Glass Bottom Boat (1966).
In his New York Times review, Vincent Canby panned the film but singled out the actor, stating, “The best of the lot, however, is a newcomer, Dom DeLuise, as a portly, bird-brained spy.”
DeLuise also lent his distinct voice to various animated films and was a particular staple of Don Bluth’s features, playing major roles in The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, A Troll in Central Park and All Dogs Go to Heaven.
All Dogs Go to Heaven also featured Reynolds’ voice as Charlie B. Barkin, the at-first reluctant hero, and DeLuise voiced Itchy Itchiford, Charlie’s best friend, sidekick and later partner in business.
Unlike DeLuise, however, Reynolds did not voice Charlie in any of the eventual film sequels, TV episodes, TV-episode sequels, or TV series.
DeLuise also voiced the legendary character of Charles Dickens’ Fagin in the Walt Disney film Oliver & Company and made voice guest appearances on several animated TV series.
DeLuise was probably best known as a regular in Mel Brooks’ films.
He appeared in The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Silent Movie, History of the World, Part I, Spaceballs, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Brooks’ late wife, actress Anne Bancroft, directed Dom in Fatso (1980).
He also had a cameo in Johnny Dangerously as the Pope and in Jim Henson’s The Muppet Movie as a wayward Hollywood talent agent who comes across Kermit the Frog singing “The Rainbow Connection” in the film’s opening scene.
He also appeared with fellow Brooks regulars Gene Wilder (who directed the film as well), Marty Feldman, and Madeline Kahn in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, as well as alongside Wilder and Gilda Radner in a later Gene Wilder-directed film, Haunted Honeymoon.
While his big-screen career was taking off, DeLuise also managed to juggle multiple television projects.
In addition to his regular comedy specials for ABC, DeLuise made appearances in shows such as 21 Jump Street, Married with Children and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
In 1992, DeLuise was selected to host the television show Candid Camera, which chronicled real-life bloopers and pranks caught on hidden cameras.
In later years, DeLuise tried his hand at writing.
An avid cook, he authored several instructional books on cooking, including Eat This, It’ll Make You Feel Better (1991) and the sequel Eat This Too: It’ll Make You Feel Better (1998).
He also tried his hand at children books, such as Charlie the Caterpillar (1993) and a retelling of the traditional tale Goldilocks (1997).