Legendary American comedian Don Rickles sadly passed away on April 6 2017, at the ripe old age of 90. He would have turned on May 8. He died of kidney failure at his Los Angeles home, after a successful career which spanned over six decades. Rickles was known for being unashamedly himself, as reflected in his matter-of-fact attitude towards the fame and criticism that came with being a comic.
“I can’t please the world. When you’re standing out there doing comedy, not everybody thinks you’re funny. But in my case, I’ve gained a great deal of respect for my age to still be going.”
As a renowned insult comic, Don was renowned for his “roasts”. His reputation for making fun of stars was solidified by his time on the NBC programme The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, which ran during the 1970s and 1980s. Past roast targets have included President Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Kirk Douglas and Sammy Davis Jr.
Various voices from the entertainment industry have paid tribute to him. George Schlatter, the producer of classic sketch-comedy TV show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In praised Don’s unique ability to get away with mocking the biggest stars, but also stressed that he was a truly reliable friend.
“He had a way of saying things and he could get away with it. He could tease presidents and first ladies.
“He could say things to Frank Sinatra that no one could say to Sinatra. He could walk in and Frank would start to laugh.
“If I needed him, he was always there.”
His insults earned him the sarcastic nickname “Mr Warmth” and he also built an impressive movie career, having featured in films including moves including the 1970 film Kelly’s Heroes with Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese’s 1995 film Casino. He also notably voiced the character Mr Potato Head in the Toy Story franchise.
Jimmy Kimmel also joined the wave of tributes which poured in after Don’s passing. Don had been a frequent guest on late night talk shows and Jimmy Kimmel had been a fan long before meeting Rickles.
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