Don Rickles Dies at 90
Legendary funnyman Don Rickles has passed away at the ripe age of 90. Spokesman Paul Shefrin confirmed the tragic news on Thursday as he said that the comedian died of kidney failure in his Los Angeles home surrounded by family and friends.
Rickles perhaps pioneered insult comedy. His uncompromising style did not discriminate from presidents, women icons, Hollywood bigwigs, icons in the industry and ordinary people in his audience. In fact, one of his favorite people to insult was Frank Sinatra, particularly on his rumored connections to the mob.
It was made even funnier because Sinatra took Rickles under his wing when he was just a struggling comic and bouncing from one comedy club to the next. He became a constant hanger-on in the rat pack–with Sinatra himself, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford—in the late 1950s.
In an era of political correctness, Rickles stood out for refusing to tone down his insults. What sets him apart, however, is he’s not afraid to make fun of himself, and how he doesn’t comport to Hollywood’s obsession with good looks.
“I make fun of the world,” Rickles told Larry King once. “You know that. And if you know how to handle that and you treat people — and you make fun of yourself, hey, it’s not offensive.”
Rickles was born as an only child in Jackson Heights in Queens, New York. His father was an insurance salesman while his mother was a homemaker. He also tried to follow in his father’s footsteps after serving two years in the navy. But performing has always been his calling and so he enrolled in the American Academy of the Arts.
He became a constant fixture on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson who was charmed with Rickles’ abrasive comedy, and the rest is history. Rickles is survived by his wife, Barbara, and daughter Mindy. His only son, Lawrence, died in 2011 at just 46 years old.
More in Life
This Mom Gets Real About the Challenges of Having Multiple Children
Having a baby is an amazing experience. You spend over nine months growing a human being and one day you finally get...Aug 23, 2017
After Whining About Her “Small” $1,600 Engagement Ring, The Internet Set Her Straight
While it’s probably not that common for a woman to deny a proposal based on the ring’s price tag alone, that’s...Aug 23, 2017
She Asked Why He Wanted To Marry Her; He Gave 8 Sweet Reasons Why
What does true love really look like? Whether you’re suffering from an unrequited crush, a horrible breakup, or a relationship that...Aug 23, 2017
This Army Vet’s Business is the Definition of ‘Leave No Man Behind’
When Tim Smith came home from the Army in 2007, he had been through hell. The last thing that he needed upon...Aug 22, 2017
93-Year-Old Grandpa Caught Sneaking Out at Night for the Cutest Reason
As we approach our golden years, it becomes more and more difficult to maintain our independence. If you’re fortunate enough to reach...Aug 22, 2017
Take a Tour Through the Beautiful Homes of These Celebrities
Even your favorite actors and musicians need a place to call home. So, what kind of place can a celebrity's seemingly...Aug 22, 2017
Mom Suddenly Vanishes But the Search Exposes Her Double Life
To outsiders, Paige Birgfeld was a true superwoman. She was the perfect doting mother, a lovable friend, and a smart businesswoman,...Aug 22, 2017
A Pizza Helped Rescue This Missing Child — Here’s How
Who knew that something like pizza would help locate a missing child? Four-year-old Yvette Henley had been missing three weeks, until...Aug 21, 2017
Drug Dealer Dramatically Turns His Life Around, Enrolls At Cambridge
For anyone who has ever thought that they’re just too far gone to change their life, this inspiring transformation story is...Aug 21, 2017