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Actor Dom DeLuise Dead at 75

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Actor Dom DeLuise died last night in a Los Angeles hospital, Jeffrey Lane, an agent for Burt Reynolds confirmed to FOX News Tuesday.

The actor, famous for his roles in “The Cannonball Run,” “Blazing Saddles” and “Spaceballs,” passed away in his sleep at around 6 p.m.

He was 75 years old.

Reynolds expressed sadness at the news of his friend passing, telling FOX News in an email " I was thinking about this the other day. As you get older, and start to lose people you love, you think about it more, and I was dreading this moment. Dom always made you feel better when he was around and there will never be another like him. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I will miss him very much."

DeLuise was born in Brooklyn in 1933 to John and Vincenza DeLuise. He graduated from the Manhattan School of the Performing Arts before breaking into the off-Broadway circuit in the 1960s.

He later established a solid comedic career, appearing on several variey shows like "The Garry Moore show" and "The Entertainers."

PHOTOS: Click here to see photos of Dom DeLuise.

He made his film debut in the Sidney Lumet drama "Fail-Safe" in 1964, though he is best known for his roles as film director Buddy Bizarre in "Blazing Saddles" and the all-star variety project "The Cannonball Run," in which he starred with Reynolds.

In addition to his film, television and theater work, he also established himself as a celebrity chef, writing several cookbooks as well as children's books in the 1990s.

Because of his passion for food, the actor battled obesity throughout much of his life, his weight reaching as much as 325 pounds at one point. For years, he resisted the efforts of family members and doctors who tried to put him on various diets. He finally agreed in 1993 when he needed hip replacement surgery and his doctor refused to perform it until he lost 100 pounds.

He and his family enrolled at the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C., and DeLuise lost enough weight for the surgery, although he gained some of it back afterward.

On the positive side, his love of food resulted in two successful cookbooks, 1988's "Eat This — It Will Make You Feel Better!" and 1997's "Eat This Too! It'll Also Make You Feel Good."

At his Pacific Palisades home, DeLuise often prepared feasts for family and friends. One lunch began with turkey soup and ended with strawberry shortcake. In between, were platters of beef filet, chicken breast and sausage, a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs and a saucer of lettuce.

He strongly resembled the famed chef Paul Prudhomme and joked in a 1987 Associated Press interview that he had posed as Prudhomme while visiting his New Orleans restaurant, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen.

In 2006, he suffered a brief health scare when he collapsed in his home. His health records were also subject to public scrutiny, after they were involved in a very public story about hospital staff snooping through the confidential files of celebrity patients.

He is survived by his wife Carol, three sons Peter, Michael and Dave, and three grandchildren, Riley, Dylan and Jake.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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