Carol Arthur, Blazing Saddles actress and wife of Dom DeLuise, dies at 85
Carol Arthur, the actress known for her collaborations with Mel Brooks and the widow of comedian Dom DeLuise, died Sunday at the Mary Pickford House at the Motion Picture & Television Fund in Los Angeles. She was 85. A spokesperson for the MPTF confirmed the news to EW.
Arthur famously appeared in Brooks' 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles as the schoolmarm Harriet Johnson, followed by small but memorable roles in three more of his projects: Silent Movie, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It.
"Sad to hear of Carol Arthur's passing," Brooks tweeted Monday. "She was so great in Blazing Saddles as Harriett Johnson the over-the-top, outspoken schoolmarm. She will be missed."
Arthur was born Carol Arata in Hackensack, N.J., on Aug. 4, 1935. She and DeLuise met in Provincetown, Mass., in 1964 while working in various stage productions. They married a year later and had three sons: Peter, Michael, and David. All three are actors.
David DeLuise paid tribute to his late mother Sunday on Instagram.
"Thank you for being the best mom in the world. You are free now," he captioned a photo gallery of Arthur. "I will miss you and love you forever 🙏🏻 Give Dad a big hug and a kiss from me ❤️ Thank you for your wisdom and unconditional love. And thank you for giving your gift. We were all so Lucky and blessed to have you. I Love you."
Arthur pivoted to television in 1968, starring as herself on multiple episodes of The Dom DeLuise Show. She continued to make guest appearances on the small screen on hit shows including Sanford and Son, Rhoda, Alice, What's Happening, and St. Elsewhere.
Although she found a place in films and TV, she also made her way back to her roots in theater. She made her Broadway debut alongside Dick Van Dyke in 1980, followed by a role in Woman of the Year with Lauren Bacall in the lead a year later.
Her final job before retiring from Hollywood was on 7th Heaven in 2004.
Arthur was married to DeLuise until his death in 2009 from kidney failure after battling cancer privately for more than a year.