LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Don Rickles, a pugnacious comedian known for his quick, acerbic wit and insult comedy, has died. He was 90.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Rickles' publicist said the comedian died at his home in Los Angeles on Thursday of kidney failure.
Dubbed "Mr. Warmth" Rickles performed as a standup comic for years, but first caught widespread attention after he dinged Frank Sinatra from stage during a show at a Miami Beach club in 1957.
The Hollywood reporter recounted that when Sinatra walked into the club while Rickles was performing, the comedian told the rat-packer, “Chairman of the Board. Make yourself at home Frank. Hit somebody,” much to Sinatra's and the crowd's amusement.
The impromptu moment helped to propel Rickles to national prominence, leading to gigs in high profile venues like the Hotel Sahara for his first Las Vegas appearance.
Rickles also became a regular on television, appearing on Dean Martin's Celebrity Roasts on NBC, lambasting celebrities ranging from Bob Hope to Kirk Douglas. As well, he was a regular on late night shows such as Johnny Carson and The Late Show With David Letterman.
Rickles also found roles on the big screen, famously playing the nefarious Sgt. Crapgame in the screwball war comedy "Kelly's Heroes" alongside Clint Eastwood, and Quartermaster Ruby on the classic submarine drama "Run Silent, Run Deep" among other films.
Over the course of his career, Rickles' contributions to comedy were recognized with numerous awards including a Primetime Emmy for the documentary "Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project" in 2008, A Legend Award, The Johnny Carson Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Friar' Club.
In 1965, Rickles married Barbara Sklar, and they had two children together, Larry, who died in 2011, and Mindy.
Other survivors include his son-in-law Ed and grandchildren Ethan and Harrison. Funeral services will be private. Donations can be made to the Larry Rickles Endowment Fund at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. – Staff Writers