TrustMovies first met Dom in the lobby of Lincoln Center's Philharmonic Hall (now known as Avery Fisher Hall), in the late 60s -- just around the time he looked like he does in this photo, at right. He was the new boyfriend of a friend of mine named Carol Arthur, an actress/singer (the Broadway musical High Spirits and an off-Broadway Cole Porter review in which she sang, marvelously, "I Happen to Like New York"). I'd done summer stock with Carol and then become part of a circle of her theatre friends. At the time, I worked at the Philharmonic Hall box-office, and one evening Carol stopped by to introduce her new beau. From the first, Dom was funny and friendly -- two important qualities that, over the decades, never changed.
I think that some of us in that group of friends were worried that this guy was going to take Carol away from us. And of course he did. When I grew up a bit, I realized that this is what happens with marriage: You get "taken." Even at that point in his relatively new career, Dom was the most famous person that any of us knew. After awhile, because his career demanded it, he and Carol moved to Los Angeles, settling into one of its lovelier communities, Pacific Palisades.
When my wife became pregnant in late spring of 1973, we began a rather tricky time. Almost coinciding with her pregnancy was a major feature published in The Los Angeles Times that linked the use of spray glues with birth defects. I had been using spray glue consistently in my advertising job at the publishing house, so Rae and I considered the possibility of an abortion, which neither of us wanted. We contacted the writer of the Times feature -- who proved a real doll, calling us back immediately, commiserating and giving us all her knowledge of these "defect" links, along with further people to contact in the scientific community. After some research, we decided to continue with the pregnancy. At almost five months, Rae began bleeding and was promptly put on bed rest for the next few weeks. At that point we figured, "If this kid gets born in OK-shape, we'll be really grateful."
She did. But instead of falling forward onto Tiffany's hard floor, she fell directly onto Dom's corpulent and welcoming body, which softened her landing considerably and may even have saved our child's life. During the entire time that the robbery was going on -- glass cases and windows shattering, people crying -- Dom kept repeating over and over, "Keep your head down, keep your head down," talking quietly to reassure Rae.
Having lasted out the spray glue, the bleeding, and now this, our child, we felt, was quite determined to be born. And so she was (in 1974, remember, you didn't know the sex until the baby was out). On the morning of February 15, 1974, just missing Valentine's Day, Laura Paige van Maanen arrived.
By the time, thirteen years later, that Rae and I separated and then divorced (we're still very close: a child and 20 years shared help make that happen), we had moved back to New York City, where we remain today -- I with my companion of the last 20 years, Bruce. Though Rae and I have not been as close (or as often in touch) with Dom and Carole in the ensuing years, our daughter Laura, as well as the DeLuises, have maintained contact. That's a photo of newborn Laura (above), with Dom, Carol, their boys and dog -- and another taken just two years ago (below) when our adult daughter, with her own daughter Marlo and husband Bryan Simms, visited the DeLuises (and parrot) in California.
(except those two that include my daughter Laura)
off Dom's web site: www.domdeluise.com
It's a treat to browse the site, should you have a little extra time.