Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Dom Deluise appeared in several slapstick comedies and is probably best known for his roles with actor Burt Reynolds and director Mel Brooks. DeLuise appeared in many Brooks movies, including Blazing Saddles, Silent Movie and History of the World: Part I and even supplied the voice for the character of Pizza the Hutt in the cult comedy hit Spaceballs.
Actor, chef and author Dominick "Dom" DeLuise was born on August 1, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, to Italian American parents Vincenza "Jennie" DeLuise, a homemaker, and John DeLuise, who worked as a civil servant.
The third of three children, DeLuise developed an interest in acting at the age of 8, after playing Peter Rabbit in a grade school play. DeLuise graduated from Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts, and spent the next five years seeking work in theater or television. DeLuise finally enrolled at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, to study biology, with the aim of becoming a teacher.
TV and Broadway
But the theater continued to call DeLuise, and he found work appearing in stage productions such as Kiss Me Kate and Hamlet. DeLuise was appearing on Broadway in the play Here's Love in the early 1960s and playing small screen roles on TV shows such as The Entertainers and The Shari Lewis Show, when he caught the attention of actor Garry Moore. Moore hired the aspiring actor to appear on The Garry Moore Show.
During the show, DeLuise ran through his "Dominick the Great" routine, in which he pretends to be an unsuccessful magician. DeLuise's performance was responsible for launching his career with the ABC network, and he began appearing in variety shows and comedy specials of his own, including The Dom DeLuise Show in 1968.
Throughout the '70s and '80s, Deluise appeared in several slapstick comedies, and is probably best known for his roles with actor Burt Reynolds and director Mel Brooks. DeLuise appeared in many movies in the Brooks franchise, including The Twelve Chairs (1970), Blazing Saddles (1974), Silent Movie (1976), History of the World: Part I (1981), and even supplied the voice for the character of Pizza the Hutt in the cult comedy hit, Spaceballs (1987).
With Reynolds, DeLuise appeared in films such as The Cannonball Run (1981) and Cannonball Run II (1984) as well as Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982).
While his big-screen career was taking off, DeLuise also managed to juggle multiple television projects. In addition to his regular comedy specials for ABC, DeLuise made appearances in shows such as 21 Jump Street, Married with Children and 3rd Rock from the Sun. In 1992, DeLuise was selected to host the television show Candid Camera, which chronicled real-life bloopers and pranks caught on hidden cameras.
DeLuise also worked as a prominent voiceover actor, lending his voice to such popular animated productions as The Secret of NIMH (1982), An American Tail (1986), All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989) and Dexter's Laboratory (1997).
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