Refresh for updates No good-natured insults – yet – but Hollywood wasted no time remembering comic legend Don Rickles. The comic, who may not have invented the celebrity roast but certainly set it afire, died today at 90 of kidney failure in Los Angeles. With a career that spanned ’50s television, early ’60s beach party movies and classic Rat Pack appearances to the upcoming Toy Story 4, Rickles joked with, insulted and won over generations of Hollywood stars and audiences.
Robert De Niro released the statement below:
“I’m a little disappointed with Don. He had promised me he would live to be at least 95. In all seriousness, he was not only a great friend, he was a great man with a great heart. I really loved the guy. I will miss him.”
Rickles’ close friend Bob Newhart and wife Ginnie released the following statement:
“He was called ‘The Merchant of Venom,’ but in truth, he was one of the kindest, caring and most sensitive human beings we have ever known. We are devastated and our world will never be the same. We were totally unprepared for this.”
Jeffrey Eagle, Vice President, AARP Studios:
All of us at AARP Studios are immensely saddened with the passing of Don Rickles. We had the distinct pleasure of recently working with Don on our upcoming series “Dinner with Don.” Don was known for his biting, acerbic humor and we feel lucky enough to have experienced that first-hand. He was also a thoughtful, kind and generous colleague and friend. Don continued to make audiences laugh throughout his life and career and his legacy will live on. We send our condolences to his family and longtime industry colleagues.”
Comedian David Steinberg:
“Once in a lifetime a comedian like Don Rickles comes along. And as good a friend as anyone could have. I love you and will miss you Don.”
Jeff Peisch, Senior VP, Entertainment Programming & Marketing, Time Life:
“Hollywood royalty in every way, Don harkened back to a time before social media, when celebrities hit it big because of talent, not Twitter. From “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and his many uproarious TV specials, to his turn as Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story trilogy, Don’s singular approach to comedy – and life – always shined through. We cherish the time we spent with him, and our deepest condolences go out to his friends and family.”
Singer Steve Lawrence released the following:
“I’ve known Don Rickles almost 65 years since we first met as teenagers. I can only imagine his first conversation with God. He might send him back. I love him and I miss him; The world is a sadder place without him.”
Last Man Standing‘s Tim Allen said:
“Don Rickles is one of the biggest reasons I am a comic today. I feel bad, mostly for everyone in Heaven who will now learn first hand from the sharpest wits ever, what it’s like to be Rickled.”
Here are some other reactions to today’s news. Check back for updates.