Gosh, I must be getting old. First, Bea Arthur passes away near the end of April and now Dom DeLuise has passed away on May 4th. Both of these comedic icons have given me years and years of laughter and the world will be a slightly less funnier place without them. So here is my little tribute to these truly comedic giants.
My love affair with Bea Arthur started with Maude, when she first appeared on All In The Family. And when the network spinned off Maude into her own show, I was hooked. Bold and brassy, Bea took Maude to levels that had not been seen on TV before nor could have been accomplished by a lesser talented actress. I loved it when she would get that look of contempt on her face and say, “God’ll get you for that, Walter!”…
After leaving Maude, Bea eventually found her way to The Golden Girls with a stellar cast including former Maude co-star Rue McClanahan, Betty White, and the late Estelle Getty. Golden Girls ran for 7 years garnishing Bea an Emmy in 1988 to go along with the Emmy she had won previously for portraying Maude.
Later on in life, I discovered that Bea was the original Vera Charles in Mame on Broadway. She won a Tony Award for that performance. She also recreated the role of Vera for the movie version with Lucille Ball.
What can I say about Dom DeLuise that would give him justice? The guy cracked me up. One of the best memories I have of him is from the movie The End with Burt Reynolds where he and Bert are rolling on the ground in each other’s arms. I’m still laughing just thinking about it.
Dom knew how to take the funny fat guy and make a career out of it. Whether clowning around with Johnny Carson or Dean Martin, portraying a major role like the egomaniacal Melvin P. Thorpe in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas or stealing the scene with a bit part like the gay director Buddy Bizarre in Blazing Saddles, Dom threw himself into each role with a tongue-in-cheek gusto. His laugh was infectious. Take a look at the outakes from the credit reel of The Cannon Ball Run with Burt Reynolds:
Thank you Bea and Dom for the many years of smiles. I think I can hear them laughing and applauding in Heaven.