Legendary Comedian Don Rickles Dead at 90
Legendary comedian Don Rickles has died at the age of 90.
The actor passed away from kidney failure at his Los Angeles home on Thursday, his longtime representative, Paul Shefrin, has confirmed to People.
Rickles rose to fame in the 1960s after performing his comedy routines on the club circuit.
Known for his witty insults, he became a close pal of Frank Sinatra after the singer attended one of Rickles’ comedy shows in Miami, Florida. Sinatra helped the funnyman get a foothold on the lucrative Las Vegas variety market and the funnyman went on to headline shows in Sin City.
He made his movie debut alongside Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster in Run Silent, Run Deep in 1958, and went on to score acting roles on TV series like Get Smart, Run for Your Life, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Addams Family, and Gilligan’s Island.
Rickles also became a regular guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Dean Martin Show, and in 1972, he scored his own variety series, The Don Rickles Show. He was also a favorite guest on The Late Show with David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and in 2015 he returned to the new The Tonight Show to heckle current host Jimmy Fallon.
His other film credits include X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, the Beach Party franchise, Kelly’s Heroes with Clint Eastwood, and John Landis’ Innocent Blood.
He also voiced Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies.
Rickles, who fell ill recently and canceled an upcoming show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, would have turned 91 on May 8.
Flowers will be placed on the comedian’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star on Thursday afternoon. He was honored with the plaque in the category of Live Performance back in October 2000 in front of the El Capitan Theater.
Born in Queens, New York, in 1926, Rickles turned to stand-up comedy to make money, and discovered he had a talent for lashing out at hecklers in the audience.
He famously took a swipe at pal Sinatra’s tough guy reputation once during a show, when he spotted the crooner in the audience, joking, “Make yourself at home, Frank. Hit somebody.”
Rickles is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara Sklar – the mother of his two children. Their son, Larry, died in 2011.