Dom DeLuise dies at age 75

Tue May 5, 2009 9:33pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dom DeLuise, the U.S. comic actor who gained fame on television and in movies such as "Blazing Saddles" and "Smokey and the Bandit II," has died at age 75.

DeLuise died on Monday night at a hospital in the Los Angeles community of Santa Monica, his agent Robert Malcolm said.

"It's easy to mourn his death, but easier to remember a time when he made you laugh," DeLuise's family said in a statement issued by Malcolm.

No cause of death was given, but Malcolm said DeLuise had health problems including high blood pressure and diabetes.

In December 2008 the actor told TV show "Entertainment Tonight" that he had been fighting prostate cancer. "I'm still here. I'm 75 and here. I feel very blessed," he said.

Dominick "Dom" DeLuise was born August 1, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. He began his career in movies and on TV in the 1960s, and he gained widespread fame on the Dean Martin Show as "Dominick the Great," a magician whose act routinely went wrong.

For a brief period in 1968, he was given his own TV program, "The Dom DeLuise Show," and he later proved to be appealing as a guest star in sketch comedy and other shows.

"I loved him from the moment we met. Not only did we have the greatest time working together, but I never laughed so hard in my life as when we were together," Doris Day, who starred with DeLuise in the 1966 movie, "The Glass Bottom Boat," said in a statement.   Continued...

<p>Actors Dom DeLuise (L) and Burt Reynolds are shown in a scene from their 1981 film "The Canonball Run". REUTERS/20th Century Fox/Handout/Files</p>