Carol Arthur, who appeared in a number of Broadway and West End productions during her career, has died following a decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 85.
Ms. Arthur starred in the 1963 London revival of On the Town at the Prince of Wales Theatre as Hildy Esterhazy, singing the show-stopping “I Can Cook Too.” Additionally, she played Mrs. Paroo opposite Dyke van Dyke in the brief 1980 Broadway revival of The Music Man and also appeared in Woman of the Year and High Spirits.
Ms. Arthur was perhaps best-known for her performance as Harriett Van Johnson in Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles. “She was my lifelong friend, and she will be missed,” said Brooks to The Hollywood Reporter. The director also worked with the performer in Silent Movie, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It.
Born August 4, 1935, in New Jersey, Ms. Arthur studied at the Feagin School of Dramatic Radio and Arts and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. At the start of her career, the performer understudied in a national tour of Once Upon a Mattress.
She married late funnyman Dom DeLuise in 1965 after the pair met while performing in production of Summer and Smirk at the Provincetown Playhouse. Together, they appeared in films like Hot Stuff, The Princess and the Dwarf, The Godson, and Between the Sheets—the latter directed by their son Michael—and remained a couple until DeLuise’s passing in 2009.
Independently, Ms. Arthur featured in a number of films and TV series throughout the late 20th century, including The Sunshine Boys, Rhoda, Alice, and 7th Heaven.
Ms. Arthur is survived by sons Peter, David, and the aforementioned Michael, grandchildren Jake, Destefano, and Dylan, and brother George.