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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dom Deluise 1933-2009

It saddens me deeply today to report that the truly gifted funnyman Dom Deluise has died at the age of 75, according to TMZ.

Yeah, I know this has little do with horror. OK, the guy was in Haunted Honeymoon, and his last movie will be Horrorween, due out in October--how's that? Besides, in the words of my illustrious colleague BJ-C--my blog, my rules.

This one gets to me because I have a personal connection with the man. Growing up on 67th Street and 12th Avenue in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, we lived literally around the corner from Mr. Deluise's mother, Vincenza.

I can still remember as clear as day the time I first met him. He was visiting his mom, and I had to be only about six or so. There he was, sprawled out on a lawn chair on the front stoop in classic Brooklyn fashion, his trademark smile and beret in full effect. My mom and I stopped to say hi, and he was pleased to talk to us. He was also more than happy to sign an autograph when my mom asked for one.

"Mommy," I asked innocently, "Why do we want him to sign that paper for us? What's that for?"

My mom chuckled nervously, and Mr. Deluise stopped in mid-autograph and broke into a deep, heartfelt belly laugh.

"Humor me, kid," he said. "I like to write!"

Coincidentally, it also happened that Mr. Deluise was a close friend of my great uncle's long-time ladyfriend--in fact, the two had started out in show business together in the 1950s. Although she too has long since passed, I'll never forget the anecdote she once told over a lively Italian-American Christmas dinner. She recalled to all of us the time she was getting ready for a show backstage with him, watching him shave in the mirror.

"You know something," he said to her, dead serious as he passed the razor across his face. "I'm gonna be a really big star some day."

On behalf of millions, Mr. Deluise, let me say that we are grateful your dream came true. Rest in peace.

7 comments:

Wings said...

He was a very funny man.

brew said...

Lord save his soul ...
I just learned that Dom DeLuise-died last night in a Los Angeles hospital.
He was 75.
The history of life:Dom DeLuise-FILM

BJ-C said...

This just ruined my day :( so sad.

B-Sol said...

I'll never forget him. All the great Mel Brooks flicks, the movies with Burt Reynolds, anything with the great Gene Wilder. What a loss. And what a shame he had fallen off the map for so long, too.

aunt john said...

Thank you for sharing that really sweet story. I'm bummed out by his passing.

Anonymous said...

RayRay - Here's to anotyher good Brooklyn boy shuffling off this mortal coil. RIP fellow big man.

B-Sol said...

You're welcome John, so am I.

Ray, did you ever hear about his mom living on 66th street? It was so surreal to see him out there helping her with groceries and stuff. Once I even saw Peter Deluise--a.k.a. Penhall from 21 Jump Street.

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