May 6, 2009
Posted: 06:33 PM ET
From the desk of Larry King:
I knew Dom pretty well. He was on my radio show frequently in the '80's and '90's. I had him on my local TV show in DC in the early '80's, before I joined CNN. And I had him on Larry King Live a number of times.
(To see a clip of Dom on LKL CLICK HERE)
He was a great guy. He was very funny, of course, and always "on," and by that I mean he was always performing. That made him a terrific guest, and enjoyable on and off camera. I loved having him on my shows because he was funny and passionate, and that's what you want in a guest - a lot of passion. He exuded it. When he was on the screen, you couldn't change the channel.
He did have this thing that most comedians have, where you hold them at arm's-length. Bob Hope was an example of this. In the numerous times I interviewed him, I could never get him to talk about himself, no matter how hard I tried. But nearly every comic I've interviewed - and most of the actors - share this trait. They're being someone else while I'm interviewing them.
I think Dom was an underrated comedian. When they talk about the great comics, you don't hear his name mentioned, but you should because he was really funny. Dom was also an extraordinary Italian cook - or at least I'm told, he never cooked for me. Somebody once told me he made the world's best meatballs. Wish he had cooked for me. I like meatballs.
Dom made friends very easily. He was appreciated among those in the business and very well liked. I never heard anyone say a bad word about him. And of course there was his friendship with Burt Reynolds. Burt loved him. I had them on together once. There was a dinner in DC where Burt was being honored. I was the emcee, and I had both of them on my local TV show in Washington to promote it. They were hilarious. At the dinner Dom talked about Burt. Talk about funny - but also real. Their friendship was very genuine. Burt adored him, and the opposite was true. Their relationship reminded me a lot of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. His friendship with Burt - and Mel Brooks - got him a lot of movie roles. In all those movies, he stood out.
I was very sad to hear about Dom's passing. The world got a little less funny.
To read more about Dom DeLuis's career, CLICK HERE.
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