Dom DeLuise was born on August 1, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, the son of John and Vincenza DeStefano. He was the youngest of three children, having an older brother, Nicholas "Nick" DeLuise, and an older sister, Antoinette DeLuise-Daurio. His lifelong stardom ranges from stage to screen to television, from actor to singer to dancer to director, as well as accomplishments as an author and chef.
A graduate of the High School of Performing Arts, Dom spent his summers at the Cleveland Playhouse, appearing in productions like "Guys and Dolls," "Kiss me Kate," "Stalag 17" and "Hamlet." His first paying acting job was the role of "Bernie the Dog" in "Bernie's Christmas Wish."
Dom's debuted on the New York stage in the off-Broadway production of "Little Mary Sunshine." While appearing in a summer production of "Summer & Smirk" in Provincetown, Massachusetts, Dom met his wife, actress Carol Arthur. Eight off-Broadway shows later, Dom starred in the 1968 Broadway production of Neil Simon's "Last of the Red Hot Lovers." His Broadway roles continued with "Here's Love" and "The Student Gypsy."
He first appeared on television as 'Dominick the Great' on the "Garry Moore Show," performing with his good friend Ruth Buzzi. Dom guest-stared on many variety shows, leading up to a series-regular role on "The Entertainers" with Carol Burnett and Bob Newhart. Dom's love for television flourished during his twelve years on the "Dean Martin Show." He created many memorable moments while guest hosting for Johnny Carson on the "Tonight Show."
In 1968, Dom hosted his own show on CBS, "The Dom DeLuise Variety Show," under the guiding hand of Jackie Gleason. Dom returned as host for ABC's "Dom DeLuise and Friends" from 1983 to 1990.
On the big screen, Dom debuted in Sydney Lumet's 1964 movie, "Fail Safe." Subsequent films included "The Glass Bottom Boat," "The Busybody," "What's So Bad About Feeling Good," "Norwood" and "Who is Harry Kellerman..." After his hilarious role in "The Twelve Chairs," he earned a place in many of Mel Brooks' best comedies, including "Blazing Saddles," "Silent Movie," "History of the World - Part 1," "Spaceballs" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."
Dom starred beside good friend, Burt Reynolds, in movies including "Smokey and the Bandit II," "Cannonball Run I & II," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and, Dom's personal favorite, "The End."
Dom appeared with Gene Wilder in "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother," "The World's Greatest Lover" and "Haunted Honeymoon."
Dom loved performing with Anne Bancroft, who wrote, directed and co-starred with him in "Fatso," in which Dom's work received the Italian Film Acting Award.
Dom's voice has earned stardom all on its own in animation. Steven Spielberg cast him in Dom's most famous animated role as 'Tigar' in "An American Tail." He returned as 'Tigar' in the sequels and television series, as well as in the Universal Studios Tour and Hollywood theme parks in Florida. Dom received critical acclaim for his performance as 'Jeremy the Crow' in "The Secret of NIMH." He was also the unforgettable voice of 'Itchy' in "All Dogs go to Heaven I & II" with Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson.
Dom switched sides of the camera with his 1979 directorial debut of "Hot Stuff," with Suzanne Plechette, Jerry Reed and Ozzie Davis. Dom brought his directing skills to the stage with several productions in Jupiter, Florida, including "Same Time Next Year" with Burt Reynolds and Carol Burnett, "Butterflies are Free," "Answers" with Stockard Channing, "Brighton Beach Memoirs" with his son, Peter, and the musical production, "Jump," starring his talented wife, Carol Arthur.
The never-limited Dom DeLuise has also appeared at New York's Metropolitan Opera several seasons between1990 and 1997 in "Die Fledermaus." He has also performed at the White house for presidents including President Ford, President Reagan, President Bush Sr. and President Clinton.
Dom was also a best-selling author, with two cookbooks "Eat This" and "Eat This Too," and his well-received children's books, published by Simon & Schuster: "Charlie the Caterpillar," "Goldilocks," "King Bob's New Clothes," "Hansel & Gretel" and "The Nightingale."
Dom DeLuise died on May 4, 2009, at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. His family was by his side at the time of his death. His good friend Burt Reynolds made a statement in the Los Angeles Times, saying: "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."
Mel Brooks also made a statement to the same paper, telling them that Dom "created so much joy and laughter on the set that you couldn’t get your work done. So every time I made a movie with Dom, I would plan another two days on the schedule just for laughter. It's a sad day. It's hard to think of this life and this world without him".
Portrait of Dom DeLuise
|Extra information||Picture of Dom DeLuise taken by the photographer in Los Angeles in 1975|