Recognized instantly by young moviegoers of the Eighties and Nineties for his constantly wheezing voice and constantly cheerful, if quirky, disposition, Dominick "Dom" DeLuise (August 1, 1933 — May 4, 2009) first started his acting profession on stage, his first role being Tinker the toymaker in a local children's program, soon moving on to comedies like the off-Broadway "The Jackass", where he truly started to shine. In fact, former partner Mel Brooks once quipped that when he hired Dom for one of his films, he would "instinctively add another two days to the schedule because of the constant laughter Dom provided on the set". Along with Brooks, Dom was a regular player in Don Bluth films, often being the only actor to reprise their characters in the many Direct-to-Video sequels they received.
In addition to his acting, DeLuise had a successful second career as a gourmet cook, publishing two cookbooks, Eat This... It'll Make You Feel Better and Eat This Too!, as well as an instructional CD-ROM, Cooking With Dom Deluise. He managed to have fun with this in his acting work by playing characters who were either involved in the culinary arts or liked to cook.
DeLuise died on May 4, 2009 of kidney failure and respiratory complications from cancer at age 75.
Works Dom DeLuise has appeared in:
- Fail Safe (his debut) - Sgt. Collins
- The Munsters - Replaced Paul Lynde as Dr. Dudley in the character's final appearance.
- The Twelve Chairs - Father Fyodor
- Blazing Saddles - Buddy Bizarre
- Silent Movie - Dom Bell
- The Muppet Movie - Bernie The Agent
- The Cannonball Run - Victor Prinzim a.k.a. Captain Chaos
- History of the World Part I - Emperor Nero
- Fatso - Dominick DiNapoli
- The Secret of NIMH (and its sequel) - Jeremy
- Peter No Tail (1981, 1983 American English dub) - Bull
- An American Tail (films and TV series) - Tiger
- Spaceballs - Pizza The Hutt
- Oliver & Company - Fagin
- All Dogs Go to Heaven (films and TV series) - Itchy Itchiford
- Loose Cannons — Harry "the Hippo" Gutterman
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights - Don Giovanni
- A Troll in Central Park - Stanley
- The Silence of the Hams - Dr. Animal Cannibal Pizza
- Dexter's Laboratory - Koosalagoopagoop
- Lion of Oz - Oscar Diggs/Wizard of Oz
- Timmy's Gift: A Precious Moments Christmas Story - Nicodemus The Pig
- Evil Roy Slade - Dr. Logan Delp
- Stargate SG-1 - Urgo
Tropes Associated with Dom DeLuise:
- Big Fun: So much so that Mel Brooks was known to add an extra day or two to any shoot Dom was involved in due to his tendency to improvise his lines, which often resulted in the rest of the crew (Brooks included!) corpsing and ruining takes.
- For Want of a Nail: In his favor. Mel Brooks originally wanted to to give the role of Father Fyodor in The Twelve Chairs to Peter Sellers, but Sellers wasn't available, so the role went to Dom instead. Dom would then end up as a member of Brooks' Production Posse, appearing in a total of six Brooks films over the course of twenty years.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Burt Reynolds. The two were best friends for many years until DeLuise's death, and acted together in many projects over the years. At the funeral, Reynolds expressed how difficult it was to acknowledge that the world - and life - would continue to turn without his best friend by his side.
- Large Ham: Yes.
- Nice Guy: Much like Adam Sandler in the modern day, DeLuise was well known around Hollywood to stop and chat with anyone who recognized him and often left tips upwards of $1000 at restaurants.
- Pigeonholed Voice Actor: Often plays a nice and innocent (or at least, one with a set of morals that means well), bumbling non-human supporting character whenever he's cast in a Don Bluth movie.
- Self-Deprecation: Was not afraid to laugh at his own struggles with obesity, as best shown by his roles in Fatso and Spaceballs.