Los Angeles: Don Rickles, one of the best comedians of the last one century, known for his rough sense of humor is dead. Cause of his death is said to be kidney failure.
His publicist Paul Shefrin who was associated with him for several decades told the media that the 90-year old actor breathed his last at his Los Angeles home. Don Rickles was the the honorary Rat Pack member and celebrity roast guest whose career spanned six decades.
His career saw many ups and downs, but as he continued his upward journey, he caught the imagination of the industry and then never looked back. Besides being a great comedian, he was also a versatile actor and appeared in several films including Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) and Kelly’s Heroes (1970). He appeared in much appreciated sitcom C.P.O. Sharkey in mid-seventies and worked in it for as many as two years.
He was a household name for the last several decades and was part of many talk shows, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Late Show with David Letterman. He lent his voice as Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story series and went on to win a Primetime Emmy Award for the 2007 documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.
A report in The Variety while talking about him says, “Though he appeared in films and on television, Rickles’ mainstay was always nightclub performances, appearing in Las Vegas and elsewhere into his late 80s. He also found late success as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” films, which were exceptional box office performers, and popped up frequently on latenight talkshows… Rickles’ career had its ups and downs as comedic tastes changed, and his curmudgeonly persona was sometimes out of kilter with audience tastes, but he survived long after many of his contemporaries had disappeared into retirement. And when he was hot, he was a potent club headliner, insulting his audience with his two key signature phrases “dummy” and “hockey puck.””
Once, while describing himself, Rickles said, “I make fun of the world…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.”
Several decades ago, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rickles described himself in the following words, ““I was always the guy who made jokes and ribbed people at parties…After I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts I got sidetracked into clubs and started doing comedy…Sometimes I knew generally what I was going to do, but I’ve never written anything down. Call it a sixth sense, the lines just come.”