This week, legendary comedian Don Rickles died of kidney failure at is home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 90.
Rickles, who got his big break in the late ’50s with support from Frank Sinatra, spent decades doing standup and late-night. He excelled at insult comedy, which he fell into as he responded back to hecklers at his early comedy club performances, and brought his particular brand of mean-funny to cameos on most major shows of the last generation (“The Twilight Zone,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” “I Dream of Jeannie”). He was also the voice of Mr. Potato Head from “Toy Story.”
A number of television hosts and other actors paid tribute to his comedy talents upon hearing of his passing. Jimmy Kimmel recalled Rickles as a “towering presence in Las Vegas,” where Kimmel grew up. Seth Meyers, host of Late Night, said “there’s nothing better than getting burned by Don Rickles.” And David Letterman noted that Rickles “was always a highlight for me. Just endless mischief and nonsense, and a guy who would make the audience go completely crazy.”
AARP had an upcoming series, “Dinner with Don,” that now will be especially poignant. (Excerpts from the series can be seen in the featured video.) “All of us at AARP Studios are immensely saddened with the passing of Don Rickles,” shared AARP Studios Vice President Jeffrey Eagle. “Don was known for his biting, acerbic humor and we feel lucky enough to have experienced that first-hand. He was also a thoughtful, kind and generous colleague and friend. Don continued to make audiences laugh throughout his life and career and his legacy will live on.”
*Video courtesy AARP Studios