August 1, 1933
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||May 4, 2009 (aged 75)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Other name(s)||Dom De Luise, Dom DeLuises, Dom Deluise, Captain Chaos|
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, chef, film director, television producer, writer|
|Spouse(s)||Carol Arthur (1965-2009)|
Dominick "Dom" DeLuise (August 1, 1933 – May 4, 2009) was an American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur from 1965 until his death, and the father of actor, writer, director Peter DeLuise, actor David DeLuise, and actor Michael DeLuise.
DeLuise was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Italian American parents Vincenza "Jennie" (née DeStefano), a homemaker, and John DeLuise, a civil servant (garbage collector). DeLuise graduated from Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts. He later attended Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
DeLuise generally appeared in comedic parts, although an early appearance (in the movie Fail-Safe as a nervous enlisted airman) showed a possible 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, "[T]he best of the lot, however, is a newcomer, Dom DeLuise, as a portly, bird-brained spy." He has appeared in The Magic School Bus as The Baker in the Episode Gets Ready, Set, Dough.
In the 1970s and 1980s, he often co-starred with Burt Reynolds. Together they appeared in the films The Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run II, Smokey and the Bandit II, The End, All Dogs Go to Heaven and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. DeLuise was the host of the television show Candid Camera from 1991 to 1992.
DeLuise also lent his voice for 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 along with their respective sequels and spinoff series. He also lent his voice to Fagin in the Walt Disney film Oliver & Company and made guest appearances on several animated TV series.
TV producer Greg Garrison hired DeLuise to appear as a specialty act on The Dean Martin Show. DeLuise ran through his "Dominick the Great" routine, a riotous example of a magic act gone wrong, with host Martin as a bemused volunteer from the audience. Dom's catch phrase, with an Italian accent, was "No Applause Necessary, Save-a to the End." The show went so well that DeLuise was soon a regular on Martin's program, participating in both songs and sketches. Garrison also featured DeLuise in his own hour-long comedy specials for ABC. (Martin was often just off-camera when these were taped, and his distinctive laugh can be heard loud and clear.)
DeLuise was probably best known as a regular in Mel Brooks's 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's 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.
DeLuise exhibited his comedic talents while playing the speaking part of the jailer Frosch in the comedic operetta Die Fledermaus at the Metropolitan Opera, playing the role in four separate revivals of the work at the Met between December 1989 and January 1996. In the production, while the singing was in German, the spoken parts were in English. A lifelong opera fan, he also portrayed the role of L'Opinion Publique in drag for the Los Angeles Opera's production of Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld.
An avid cook and author of several books on cooking, in recent years he appeared as a regular contributor to a syndicated home improvement radio show, On The House with The Carey Brothers, giving listeners tips on culinary topics. He was also a friend and self-proclaimed "look-alike" of famous Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme. He also wrote seven children's books.
DeLuise died at age 75 on May 4, 2009, 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 died from kidney failure and respiratory complications from cancer. He was cremated and his ashes were buried with his parents in New York City. His family was by his side at the time of his death.