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LOS ANGELES - Dom DeLuise, the portly actor-comedian whose affable nature made him a popular character actor for decades with movie and TV audiences as well as directors and fellow actors, has died. He was 75.
DeLuise was described as a natural comedian who kept the laughs rolling even when the cameras weren't. DeLuise was surrounded by his wife and three sons when he died "peacefully" Monday evening at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, his agent, Robert Malcolm said.
Born Dominick DeLuise in 1933, DeLuise appeared in scores of movies and TV shows, in Broadway plays and voiced characters for numerous cartoons. Writer-director-actor Mel Brooks particularly admired DeLuise's talent for offbeat comedy and cast him in several films.
The actor also frequently appeared opposite his friend Burt Reynolds in films such as "The End," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," "Smokey and the Bandit II," "The Cannonball Run" and "Cannonball Run II." In part because of his passion for food, the actor battled obesity, reaching as much as 325 pounds (147 kilograms) and for years resisting family members and doctors who tried to put him on various diets. He finally agreed in 1993 when his doctor refused to perform hip replacement surgery until he lost 100 pounds (45 kilograms). He lost enough weight for the surgery, though gained some of it back.