As a comedian, Don Rickles probably would have wanted his fans to smile through the heartache of his passing at 90 on Apr. 6. He was a man of many incredible talents, and if you didn’t get the chance to see them, you’ll want to read these facts!
1. Where did he come from?
Don Rickles was born and raised in Queens, New York — but his family’s background is far more international! His parents, who migrated to the Big Apple in 1903, hailed from Kaunas, Lithuania, which belonged to the Austrian Empire back then. Don was brought up in a Jewish household and spoke fluent Yiddish.
2. How did he get his start?
Believe it or not, it was Frank Sinatra who gave Don his start in the entertainment field. Frank, who liked Don’s company so much, gave him the nickname “bullet-head” and invited other celebrities to watch his standup performance at a nightclub in Miami. It was then that Don moved to Las Vegas, where he performed for stars like Dean Martin.
3. Where should I recognize him from?
Don was also a famous actor and television personality. He appeared in multiple series between the 60’s and 80’s, including Beach Party, Kelly’s Heroes opposite Clint Eastwood, and co-hosted Foul-Ups, Bleeps & Blunders. Millennials will recognize his hilarious moments on late-night talk shows. Even at 90 years old, Don was a frequent guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
4. Who has he worked with?
The better question is — who HASN’T he worked with! Don was honored on Spike TV’s One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute to Don Rickles, which was made up of iconic monologues from top comedians. Eddie Murphy, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Bill Cosby, Jon Stewart and MORE all recorded sentimental segments.
5. How did he die?
Don passed away at the age of 90 on Apr. 6 2017 due to kidney failure. He was surrounded by his wife, Barbara, inside a Los Angeles hospital during his final moments. Don is survived his wife and their two children, son Larry and daughter Mindy.
HollywoodLifers, do you have a favorite moment or joke when it comes to Don’s career? Tell us below!