Don Rickles, the legendary comedian and actor has passed away at age 90

It's with a heavy heart that we bring you the sad news that Don Rickles, the legendary comic, actor and honorary Rat Pack member, died Thursday morning at his home in Los Angeles from kidney failure, according to his longtime publicist Paul Shefrin. The uniquely-talented Rickles lived to the ripe, old age of 90.

Most famous for being a whip-smart insult comic, Rickles was a man of range who dabbled in both comedy as well as drama while participating in countless projects for both the small and silver screen. Fans enjoyed Rickles' antics as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and the Late Show with David Letterman. Known to some as "The Merchant of Venom", Rickles also lent his voice to the Mr. Potato Head character for Disney and Pixar's TOY STORY franchise. He was in the process of recording his dialogue for the planned fourth installment of the toys-to-life property when things took a turn for the worse.

Born among the steam-hissing streets of Queens, New York, Rickles began his storied career in show business while performing in clubs around The Big Apple, Miami and Los Angeles after his relentless pursuit to find proper acting work had left him frustrated and wanting more than what Tinsel Town had to offer. Often the target for hecklers, Rickles steadily became known as an "insult comic", finding that patrons responded more to his piss and venom rather than the scripted funny-bone-ticklers he attempted to deliver night after failed night.

In addition to his work on the comedic stage, Rickles also participated in a number of films for the big screen, making his debut in the submarine thriller RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. He then went on to display a bit more of serious side when starring as a carnival barker in Roger Corman's X: THE MAND WITH X-RAY EYES. Never one to shy away from the lens, Rickles then went on to appear in films such as PAJAMA PARTY, BEACH BLANKET BINGO, and of course, as the scumbag Billy Sherbert in Martin Scorsese's CASINO. 

Stepping away from the noise, rumors and glad-handing of Hollywood, Rickles participated in a number of small-screen projects as well, ranging from such classic titles like THE TWILIGHT ZONE, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, I DREAM OF JEANNIE, I SPY, GET SMART! and many more. At one point in his career, he even hosted a variety-style, roast-like program for ABC entitled THE DON RICKLES SHOW. After his time on the ABC sponsored show failed to connect with viewers, Don went on to work with NBC on yet another variety-style program called THE BIG SHOW. In addition to his brief work on that show, Rickles also co-hosted the 1984 blooper-related FOUL-UPS, as well as BLEEPS & BLUNDERS.

Later, Don became a featured player while contributing to THE DEAN MARTIN CELEBRITY ROASTS, in which he razzed such high-profile celebrities as Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Kirk Douglas and Sammy Davis Jr. as well as others. Recently, Rickles continued his television work by showing up on programs like THE BERNIE MAC SHOW, MURPHY BROWN, THE SINGLE GUY, and DADDY DEAREST.

We here at JoBlo would like to extend our warmest and most sincere condolences to Mr. Rickles' family and friends. His passing will no doubt leave a black mark in the history books, though we find ourselves quite fortunate to have so many ways in which to enjoy and celebrate the man's many talents. May you find peace in the hereafter, Don, and we thank for all of the laughs and good times that you gave to us. 

Extra Tidbit: Rickles inspired lots of nicknames. Singer Frank Sinatra called the short, bald comedian "Bullethead" while late-night television host Johnny Carson gave him the facetious title "Mr. Warmth" and Milton Berle dubbed him "The Merchant of Venom."
Source: joblo.com



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