Comedy legend and actor Don Rickles died Thursday morning of kidney failure, Fox News has confirmed. He was 90 years old. “Emmy-award winning iconic comedian Don Rickles passed away at his home Los Angeles this morning (Thursday) as a result of kidney failure,” his rep said in a statement. “Rickles would have turned 91 on May 8.” His funeral will be private. Born in New York City, Rickles served in the U.S. Navy for two years during World War II before he found fame. He got his big break when his insult comedy began getting him some attention from the “Chairman of the Board,” Frank Sinatra. He connected with Sinatra by chiding him during a show and eventually became the go-to comic of the Rat Pack stars. “Make yourself at home Frank. Hit somebody,” Rickles reportedly said during the show. His career took off when he began making appearances on the late-night shows. He was a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “Late Show with David Letterman.” For more than half a century, “Mr. Warmth” headlined casinos and nightclubs from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. N.J. Despite jokes that from other comics might have inspired boycotts, he was one of the most beloved people in show business, idolized by everyone from Joan Rivers and Louis CK to Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman. “I think the reason that (my act) caught on and gave me a wonderful career is that I was never mean-spirited,” he once said. “Not that you had to like it, but you had to be under a rock somewhere not to get it.” Carl Reiner would say he knew he had made it in Hollywood when Rickles made fun of him. James Caan once said that Rickles helped inspire the blustering Sonny Corleone of “The Godfather.”
And that’s just for starters. What an incredible life! To read the rest of this article, click on the text above. Thanks for all the laughs, Don. R.I.P.