For those of you keeping track, the world has now lost two cast members of the Ancient Rome segment of Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part I in the span of just under two weeks.
In addition to Bea Arthur (who played a Roman unemplyoment office worker in the movie), Dom DeLouise has also died. His portrayal of Nero was, I believe, one of the greatest portraits of a legendary historical figure ever committed to celluloid.
I’m only half kidding when I say that.
In his role as Nero, DeLouise basically gave the world a look at what it would likely have endured if Elvis Presley had lived much longer than he did. An accurate portrayal of the Roman emperor? Probably not. But maybe, just maybe, elements of it might have been. Or at least you could imagine it as such in the darkest recesses of your mind as an example of absolute power corrupting absolutely, and that’s what made it so funny. At any rate, it was a brilliant comedic performance.
The man wore many hats, but I will also always remember DeLouise fondly for his voice work in The Secret of NIMH, which is probably the first movie I can remember clearly having seen as a kid.