There have been many an insult comic in the past, but none paved the way like Don Rickles did. Unfortunately, Variety reported that the comedian passed away in his home in Los Angeles this morning. Paul Shefrin, Rickle’s long-term publicist, confirmed that he died from kidney failure.
Flocks of people left their thoughts for Rickles and his family on Twitter and other social media. Rickles’ career had spanned nearly sixty years, touching the funny bone of many with a caustic joke or sarcastic quip. He made a home for himself in television and film appearances, but Rickles was a born live performer, playing in nightclubs in places like Las Vegas until recently.
Of course, Rickles was most famous for his biting insults he utilized in his comic routine, regularly referencing his catchphrases “dummy” or “hockey puck.” In 2014, other famous comedians such as Jon Stewart, David Letterman, and Jerry Seinfeld gathered together to roast the roastmaster in Spike TV’s “One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute to Don Rickles.”
Before all those star-studded times, Rickles was a Manhattan man, and studied acting at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Rickles also served in the Navy during World War II. It was only in the 1950s that he got his first comedic break, playing nightclubs around town, but it was his appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1965 that truly earned him widespread attention.
It would almost be easier to note what Rickles hadn’t done; from theater, to film, to memoir-writing, the man had a hand in all of it. His notable roles include Casino, Toy Story, and The Don Rickles Show.
Rickles is survived by his wife Barbara, a daughter, and two grandchildren. The family has requested that donations may be made to the Larry Rickles Endowment Fund at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in lieu of flowers.