Carol Arthur, Broadway and West End Vet, and Co-star of Mel Brooks Films, Dies at 85

Arthur originated the role of Hildy in the West End production of ”On the Town”.

Carol Arthur in Blazing Saddles
Carol Arthur in Blazing Saddles

Actor Carol Arthur, a veteran of various Broadway shows and several Mel Brooks movies, has died at the age of 85 after battling Alzheimer's disease for more than a decade.

Arthur is perhaps best known for playing schoolmarm Harriet Johnson in Blazing Saddles. She also appeared in Brooks's Silent Movie, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It. In the 1970s and 1980s, Arthur played Safety Sadie, the spokesperson for the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission in many well-known television and radio commercials.

Onstage, Arthur understudied Dody Goodman and Imogene Coca as Winnifred in the original national tour of Once Upon a Mattress in the 1960s. She originated the role of Hildy in the 1963 London premiere of On the Town. She made her Broadway debut in the 1964 musical High Spirits and played Mrs. Paroo opposite Dick Van Dyke and Meg Bussert in the 1980 revival of The Music Man. She briefly replaced Marilyn Cooper in the role of Jan Donovan in Woman of the Year in 1981, her final Broadway credit.

Arthur met her husband, actor Dom DeLuise, while working together in Provincetown. They were married in 1965 and remained together until his death in 2009. She is survived by sons Peter, Michael, and David, and their families.