If you do not know him , chances are you never realized the superstar Burt Reynolds was. Burt Reynolds had a gang that included Dom, Charles Nelson Reilly and Jerry Reed. Anybody who was in that gang deserves to be eulogized in this space. Anybody who sires Peter Deluise with his loins (what else will he use?) deserves to be eulogized in this space. If you ask me, he was the inspiration for Auguste Gusteau in Ratatouille. That's just my wishful thinking .
Associated Press | May 4, 2009 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.
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."
Reynolds fondly recalled DeLuise in a statement issued by his publicist.
"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."
Another actor-friend, Dean Martin, admired his comic abilities so much that he cast DeLuise as a regular on his 1960s comedy-variety show. In 1973, he starred in a situation comedy, "Lotsa Luck," but it proved to be short-lived.
"To know Dom was to love him and I knew him very well. Not only was he talented and extremely funny, but he was a very special human being," said actress Carol Burnett, who starred with DeLuise on TV show "The Entertainers" in the '60s. DeLuise also appeared on "The Carol Burnett Show" in the '70s.
Other TV credits included appearances on such shows as "The Munsters," "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.," "Burke's Law," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" and "Diagnosis Murder."
On Broadway, DeLuise appeared in Neil Simon's "Last of the Red Hot Lovers" and other plays.
Because of his passion for food, the actor battled obesity throughout much of his life, his weight reaching as much as 325 pounds at one point. For years he resisted the efforts of family members and doctors who tried to put him on various diets. He finally agreed in 1993 when he needed hip replacement surgery and his doctor refused to perform it until he lost 100 pounds.
He and his family enrolled at the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C., and DeLuise lost enough weight for the surgery, although he gained some of it back afterward.
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."
At his Pacific Palisades home, DeLuise often prepared feasts for family and friends. One lunch began with turkey soup and ended with strawberry shortcake. In between were platters of beef filet, chicken breast and sausage, a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs and a saucer of lettuce.
He strongly resembled the famed chef Paul Prudhomme and joked in a 1987 Associated Press interview that he had posed as Prudhomme while visiting his New Orleans restaurant, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen.
DeLuise was appearing on Broadway in "Here's Love" in the early 1960s when Garry Moore saw him and hired him to play the magician "Dominick the Great" on "The Garry Moore Show." His appearances on the hit comedy-variety program brought offers from Hollywood, and DeLuise first came to the attention of movie goers in "Fail Safe," a drama starring Henry Fonda. He followed with a comedy, "The Glass Bottom Boat," starring Doris Day, and from then on he alternated between films and television.