Comedian Don Rickles, who was well known for going after his audiences as well as his fellow entertainers, has passed away. He was 90 years old.
The Hollywood Reporter has the story:
Don Rickles, Legendary Comic With a Gift for the Insult, Dies at 90
Don Rickles, the rapid-fire insult machine who for six decades earned quite a living making fun of people of all creeds and colors and everyone from poor slobs to Frank Sinatra, has died. He was 90.
The legendary comic died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles of kidney failure, publicist Paul Shefrin announced.
Sarcastically nicknamed “Mr. Warmth,” Rickles had mock disdain for stars, major public figures and all those who paid to see him, tweaking TV audiences and Las Vegas showroom crowds with his acerbic brand of takedown comedy. A good guy and devoted husband away from the stage, Rickles the performer heartlessly laid into everyone he encountered — and they loved it.
After toiling in relative obscurity for years as a more conventional stand-up comedian, Rickles unwittingly discovered his biggest laughs came when he turned the tables on his hecklers. His career then skyrocketed after he insulted the hot-tempered Sinatra, who normally did not take kindly to such treatment.
When the superstar singer and actor walked into a Miami Beach club in 1957 where Rickles was performing, the comedian greeted the “Chairman of the Board” from the stage: “Make yourself at home, Frank. Hit somebody.” Sinatra roared — with laughter.
With Sinatra’s endorsement, Rickles began his comedic assault on people famous and not so famous — Jews, Asians, African Americans, the Irish, Puerto Ricans, red-headed women, short guys, you name it — with tremendous results.
Here’s a clip of Rickles working his magic on Martin Scorsese in 2010:
Rickles was the antithesis of the politically correct culture which has taken over much of entertainment and academia. It would amazing to see how his work was received on one of today’s college campuses.
Plenty of comics reacted on Twitter:
Aw jeez. Rickles .Sweetest, funniest, legend and mensch. Came to a party at my house gave me a dollar and told me to get a nicer place.#RIP
— Craig Ferguson (@CraigyFerg) April 6, 2017
Don Rickles has passed away.
A giant loss.
— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) April 6, 2017
One of the funniest, ballsiest comics of all time. RIP Don Rickles. pic.twitter.com/wF9rPQjjVz
— Jim Norton (@JimNorton) April 6, 2017
RIP Don Rickles. Legend.
— Jim Gaffigan (@JimGaffigan) April 6, 2017
90 years with Don Rickles weren't enough. One of the sweetest and most lovely people I had the pleasure of knowing. We miss you already
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) April 6, 2017
Here’s a story that tell what a nice guy he was:
— Nick Riccardi (@NickRiccardi) April 6, 2017
He will be missed.
Featured image via YouTube.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.