I’m going to cry – I’m crying already,” a visibly distraught Kimmel said. “I’m not good with this sort of thing.” He apologized to people in the studio who came to see the show in person, “because this is probably not what you came for, but we lost someone that we and I love very much, today.”
Kimmel, who grew up in Las Vegas, explained what a “big deal” Rickles was to him as a child. Kimmel tried to book Rickles on his show but it took four years to pull it off. “He didn’t know what this was; he knew Tonight Show and Letterman, and that’s it,” Kimmel said. “He finally agreed did show for my birthday in 2006,” Kimmel said, explaining the experience as “like I was in some sort of talk show fantasy camp…like being a real talk show host for a minute.” Rickles visited 17 more times after that.
'Station 19': Stacy McKee Exits As Showrunner Of ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy' Spinoff
“He would always ask about my parents, my kids,” Kimmel continued. “When my Uncle Frank passed away, I called him and asked him to be the guest on that show, which was a tough show. And he helped all of us through it.”
“He would always say, ‘Keep my name alive’,” Kimmel said, adding, “he was humble.”
“There will never be another Don Rickles,” Kimmel says at the top of the segment. “He was probably the greatest talk show guest of all time. Here he is: Mr. Warmth – Don Rickles.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.