How Did Don Rickles Die? The Comedian Has Passed Away At Age 90
Hollywood is bidding farewell to "Mr. Warmth." Comedian Don Rickles died on Thursday, April 6 at his Los Angeles home, according to a message received by The Hollywood Reporter from his publicist, Paul Shefrin. Rickles was 90 years old. The honorary Rat Pack member was best known for roasting celebrities throughout his 60-year career. When it comes to Rickles' cause of death, Shefrin's statement noted that it was due to kidney failure.
The beloved comedian was given the nickname "Mr. Warmth" by friend and former Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, according to USA Today. Rickles made appearances on television shows from the '60s through the '80s including The Addams Family, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gilligan's Island, and the Dean Martin Show. He even hosted his own variety show on ABC, The Don Rickles Show, back in 1968. He was also a guest on Murphy Brown and Hot in Cleveland. However, '90s babies know him best as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies.
Rickles told USA Today in 2012 that his blunt, insult humor was meant for comedy clubs. "I was too big for the screen. There was no director that knew how to handle me. My comedy, my strength, my aggressiveness, nobody knew how to handle that."
Audiences flocked to nightclubs to hear Rickles refer to them by his signature insults "dummy" and "hockey puck." He wasn't a fan of punchlines nor did he curse on stage. Mercilessly taunting hecklers was more of his schtick, which crowds couldn't get enough of. Yet the legend could also get dramatic. His more serious roles in Run Silent, Run Deep and Casino showcased his range as more than a comedy club headliner.
The funnyman is survived by his wife of 52 years Barbara, his daughter Mindy Mann, and two grandchildren Ethan and Harrison Mann, according to ABC News. He was preceded in death by his Emmy award-winning son Larry who died of pneumonia in 2011. Variety magazine reports that instead of buying flowers to honor Rickles, the family requested "donations be made to the Larry Rickles Endowment Fund at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles."