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David Huddleston appeared in acclaimed comedy 'Blazing Saddles'

Huddleston also starred in films such as 'Fools' Parade' and 'Rio Lobo,' as well as guest-starring on TV programs such as 'The Wonder Years' and 'The West Wing.'

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    David Huddleston arrives at the Golden Boot Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. in 2002.
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Actor David Huddleston, who starred in such well-known films as “Blazing Saddles” and “The Big Lebowski,” has died.

Mr. Huddleston also appeared in movies including “Fools’ Parade” and “Rio Lobo” and guest-starred on TV shows such as “The Wonder Years” and “The West Wing.”

He had experience onstage as well, with his Broadway career including starring roles in a 1997 Broadway production of “1776” and a 1984 version of the play “Death of a Salesman.” 

“Blazing Saddles” director Mel Brooks spoke about Huddleston, who portrayed the mayor of the town depicted in the film, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

"It was a great privilege to work with David Huddleston on 'Blazing Saddles,'" Mr. Brooks said. "His performance was sublime. He helped make all those Johnsons of Rock Ridge immortal. He was one of a kind and will be greatly missed." 

“Saddles,” which was released in 1974 and stars Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, and Harvey Korman, is often called one of the best film comedies of all time. The American Film Institute placed it at number six on their list of the funniest American comedies ever made, while the Writers Guild of America named it the eighth-funniest screenplay ever written.

What’s the secret to the movie’s success? (Mr. Brooks himself said, "It may be my favorite movie.") NPR writer Nadya Faulx writes that the movie’s treatment of racism and other issues is still impressive today. “Four decades on, it remains as biting a satire as ever,” Ms. Faulx writes. 

"On a very simple, pure and basic level, 'Blazing Saddles' is simply hilariously funny – for all 95 minutes, from the opening moments through to the brilliant, transcendent ending," Matt Neufeld of the Washington Film Institute wrote in a review of the film.

"One underlying brilliance here," Mr. Neufeld wrote, "was to take old comedic conventions, add some new, anti-establishment, anti-convention comedy conventions … and basically just use everything, whether it appeared to work, stick, taste good or stick to the wall. However, in the end, it all did indeed work, stick, taste good and stick to the brain."

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