The actress died Sunday at the Mary Pickford House at the Motion Picture & Television Fund senior home in Woodland Hills, the retirement center confirmed.
Born in Hackensack, N.J., in 1935, Arthur kicked off her acting career in 1971 as Christina in David Swift’s television series Arnie. After Making It and Emergency!, came her time as Harriett Johnson in Brooks’ Oscar-nominated comedy Blazing Saddles. In the film, starring Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little, Arthur’s Harriett expresses “extreme displeasure” towards Little’s Sheriff Bart in a strongly worded letter.
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“The fact that you have sent him here just goes to prove that you are the leading asshole in the state,” Harriett reads to an approving crowd. She also has a famous line when Little was pretending to threaten himself with a handgun: “Isn’t anybody gonna help that poor man?”
Blazing Saddles was her first time acting for Brooks, but it wasn’t the last.
After two years of acting in various TV series including Karen and Sanford and Son, Arthur appeared as the Pregnant Lady in the comedy legend’s Silent Movie (1976). The film, which sees Brooks try to produce the first major silent feature in decades, has Arthur acting alongside husband Dom DeLuise, whom she married in 1965.
Acting continued to become a family affair as Arthur starred in her husband’s action comedy Hot Stuff (1979). The couple’s children David DeLuise, Michael DeLuise and Peter DeLuise rounded out the cast.
In 1993, the couple also reunited for Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Dom starred as Don Giovanni, Arthur as “Complaining Villager” and David DeLuise as a villager.
Arthur’s later film works include Brooks’ Dracula: Dead and Loving It, The Good Bad Guy, The Godson, Intrepid and Between the Sheets. Her final television credits include True Colors, Lifestories and 7th Heaven. Throughout her career, the actress appeared in a number of talk shows including The Dom DeLuise Show, The Merv Griffin Show and The Mike Douglas Show.
Arthur survived Dom DeLuise, who died of kidney failure in 2009 at 75. The actress is survived by her sons and grandchildren.
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