LOS ANGELES — Dom DeLuise, the portly actor-comedian whose affable nature made him a popular character actor for decades with movie and TV audiences as well as directors and fellow actors, has died. He was 75.
His son, Michael DeLuise, told Los Angeles TV station KTLA and radio station KNX that his father died Monday night.
The actor, who loved to cook and eat almost as much as he enjoyed acting, also carved out a formidable second career later in life as a chef of fine cuisine. He authored two cookbooks and would appear often on morning TV shows to whip up his favourite recipes.
As an actor, he was incredibly prolific, appearing in scores of movies and TV shows, in Broadway plays and voicing characters for numerous cartoon shows.
Writer-director-actor Mel Brooks particularly admired DeLuise’s talent for offbeat comedy and cast him in several of his films, including “The Twelve Chairs,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Silent Movie,” “History of the World Part I” and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” DeLuise was also the voice of Pizza the Hutt in Brooks’ “Star Wars” parody, “Spaceballs.”
The actor also appeared frequently in films opposite his friend Burt Reynolds. Among them, “The End,” “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” ’Smokey and the Bandit II,” “The Cannonball Run” and “Cannonball Run II.”
Reynolds fondly recalled DeLuise in a statement.
“I was thinking about this the other day,” Reynolds said. “As you get older and start to lose people you love, you think about it more and I was dreading this moment. Dom always made you feel better when he was around and there will never be another like him. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I will miss him very much.”
Because of his passion for food, the actor battled obesity throughout much of his life, his weight reaching as much as 147 kg.
On the positive side, his love of food resulted in two successful cookbooks, 1988’s Eat This — It Will Make You Feel Better!” and 1997’s Eat This Too! It’ll Also Make You Feel Good.