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RIP – Comedian Don Rickles Passes Away at 90

RIP – Comedian Don Rickles Passes Away at 90

The king of mean.

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:

Here’s a story that tell what a nice guy he was:

He will be missed.

Featured image via YouTube.


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A friend of mine called Rickles “The King of Zing”.

RIP, King.

I wasn’t a huge fan of his, but I am a huge fan of a society that can laugh at itself, and doesn’t need safe spaces.

Only somebody you know loves you so much could insult you to your face this way and make you laugh until you cry.

Generations of people across the world will remember him as Mister Potato Head (a role that he OWNED), but to me, I will always remember him singing “Laughter For Love” after happily insulting the crowd until they roll around laughing.

To Don, who never needed to trade laughter for love, because he had them both and gave them away freely.

Those were the good days.

Rickles was among his other faults a Navy man. He played Ruby in “Run Silent, Run Deep” and he played it well.

I know what I’ll be watching this weekend.

Short clip of “Run Silent, Run Deep” featuring Don Rickles.

Full movie is here.

Fair winds and following seas and long may your big jib blow, Don Rickles. You magnificent bastard.

    Tom Servo in reply to Arminius. | April 7, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    And don’t forget Mr. Potato Head! Even in his old age, he was still great!

      Tom Servo in reply to Tom Servo. | April 7, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      I would add, you can count on one hand the number of actors that have had 3 generations of real fans. (Alec Guinness and Christopher Lee are two others I can think of)

Sorry, that wasn’t the link to the full movie. In fact, none of my links to the full movie for free work anymore.

Gremlin1974 | April 7, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Don was what today’s supposed “Insult Comic’s” wish they could be, he could be insulting without going overboard like they do today.

RIP Don, we will remember you.

Notice how the “Politically Incorrect” things Don said to people are now considered funny. Maybe there should be a class at the Ivy League schools to teach the snowflakes how to enjoy being ridiculed.