Renowned comedy icon Don Rickles had died. He would have been 91 in May.
Rickles burst into the mainstream with his acerbic style after Frank Sinatra spotted him in a night club in the late 1950s. A pioneer in the genre of ‘insult comedy,’ Sinatra said in later interviews he was impressed with how fearlessly Rickles would take on hecklers. His take-no-prisoners style soon earned him such nicknames as, “The King of Zing,” “Mr. Warmth,” and “The Merchant of Venom.”
Although not really know as a big screen star, he has appeared in many box office hits, including the 1960 dramatic comedy, “The Rat Race;” campy Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello romp, “Beach Blanket Bingo;” and Scorsese’s high-stakes drama, “Casino.”
But perhaps his most famous role to the current generation is as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the groundbreaking “Toy Story” series.
Amid the bustle of a busy news day, the internet took a moment to mourn his passing:
The Twilight Zone, I Love Lucy, Gilligan's Island, Toy Story, Sanford & Son + many more, there will never be another Don Rickles, RIP pic.twitter.com/ZN6xfJhGNy
— 50's & 60's (@50sAnd60s) April 6, 2017
Over a Bloody Mary in Beverly Hills, insult comic Don Rickles tells the best Sinatra story ever https://t.co/uvtWgghXdS #VFArchives pic.twitter.com/PucWBGkQKd
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) April 6, 2017
Comedian Don Rickles dies at 90 https://t.co/KsAzcjFcTf
The only man to pick on Frank Sinatra and get away with it. Happy trails, Don.
— Bruce Campbell (@GroovyBruce) April 6, 2017
"Jack Benny and I had dinner together. My wife and I had steak and Jack had one boiled egg."
-Don Rickles pic.twitter.com/mNrIOpSXO9
— This Day Jack Benny (@ThisDayBenny) April 6, 2017
Variety reports Rickles’ longtime publicist confirmed the he passed away at his Los Angeles home of kidney failure.
Survivors include Rickles’ wife of 52 years, Barbara; a daughter; and two grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Larry Rickles Endowment Fund at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Read more about the life and times of Don Rickles here, here and here.