'Blazing Saddles' star Carol Arthur dies at 85

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
·2-min read
Carol Arthur in Blazing Saddles (Credit: Warner Bros)
Carol Arthur in Blazing Saddles (Credit: Warner Bros)

Carol Arthur, frequent collaborator with Mel Brooks and star of Blazing Saddles, has died at the age of 85.

Arthur, who was married to the Cannonball Run star Dom DeLuise, had fought an 11-year battle with Alzheimers, and died at the Mary Pickford House at the Motion Picture & Television Fund home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, where she had lived since 2015.

In a statement, Mel Brooks said: “She was my lifelong friend, and she will be missed.”

She met DeLuise in 1964, while working on the stage in Massachusetts, and married him a year later, having three sons, Peter, Michael, and David, all of whom became actors too.

Arthur went on to appear, as herself, alongside her husband in episodes of The Dom DeLuise Show, and in a host of US TV shows including Emergency!, Sanford and Son, Rhoda and St. Elsewhere through the 70s and 80s.

She was perhaps best known for her role in Blazing Saddles, playing the angry school mistress Harriet Johnson, who brands Brooks' Governor William J. Le Petomane 'the leading a**hole in the state'.

Despite the slight, she would go on to appear alongside Brooks in movies like Robin Hood: Men In Tights, Silent Movie and Dracula: Dead and Loving It.

She was married to DeLuise for 44 years, until his death in 2009 from cancer.

In a post to Instagram, her son David said: “Thank you for being the best mom in the world. You are free now. 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.”

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