Dom DeLuise dead at 75

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Actor and comedian Dom DeLuise has died. His son tells a Los Angeles TV station (KTLA) and radio station (KNX) that DeLuise died in his sleep last night after a long illness. DeLuise was a popular character actor for decades with movie and TV audiences.

Director Mel Brooks cast him in several movies. He played the director of the song-and-dance number that gets overrun by the western at the end of "Blazing Saddles." DeLuise also appeared often in films opposite his friend Burt Reynolds, including two "Cannonball Run" movies. Another friend, Dean Martin, cast DeLuise as a regular in his 1960s comedy-variety show. DeLuise loved to cook and eat almost as much as he enjoyed acting, and carved out a second career later in life as a chef of fine cuisine -- authoring two cookbooks.

Dom DeLuise was 75.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)