Dom Deluise Dies at Age 75
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. 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, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and All Dogs Go to Heaven. DeLuise was the host of the television show Candid Camera from 1991 to 1992.
TV producer Greg Garrison hired DeLuise to appear as a specialty act on the popular 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 in broken Italian dialect, No Applause Necessary, Sava 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 & 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.
DeLuise exhibited his comedic talents while playing the speaking part of the jailer Frosch in the comedic operetta Die Fledermaus at the Metropolitan Opera. In the production, while the singing was in German, the spoken parts were in English.
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 also wrote several children's books.