Don Rickles Dies at the Age of 90

Legendary comedian Don Rickles has passed away at the age of 90.  According to a recent tweet by Stefan Becket, his rep said he died of Kidney failure.  Amazingly, Don Rickles got his start in comedy back in the 1950s working in a Miami Beach club.  Rickles specialized in “insult” comedy and he caught the attention of none other than Frank Sinatra.  Rickles remarked to Sinatra,

“I just saw your movie, The Pride and the Passion and I want to tell you, the cannon’s acting was great.” He added, “Make yourself at home, Frank. Hit somebody!” Sinatra, whose pet name for Rickles was “bullet-head,” enjoyed him so much that he encouraged other celebrities to see Rickles’ act and be insulted by him. Sinatra’s support helped Rickles become a popular headline performer in Las Vegas. During a Dean Martin Roast special, Rickles was among those who took part in a roast of Sinatra.

From there the sky was the limit.  Having the endorsement of Frank Sinatra was as good as gold.  Rickles would go on to have a 60 plus year career based mainly on insulting people.  However those close to him considered Rickles to be a sweet man who would never “hurt a fly.”   But Rickles will always go down as one of the best insult comedians of all-time and that’s what we’ll remember him for.

In a 2014 interview, Rickles dismissed thoughts of retiring, saying: “I’m in good health. I’m working better than I ever have. The audiences are great. Why should I retire? I’m like a fighter. The bell rings and you come out and fight. My energy comes alive. And I still enjoy it.

No wonder he lived until the age of 90.  Rickles will be missed.


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