Legendary Comedian and Actor Don Rickles Dead at 90

Don Rickles
Mark Mainz/Getty Images for AFI
Don Rickles pictured in 2007.

Famed insult comic and actor Don Rickles passed away Thursday at the age of 90. He died at his home of kidney failure, and according to TMZ, his wife, Barbara, was by his side.

Ironically nicknamed “Mr. Warmth,” Rickles made a name for himself by not only firing back at hecklers with his own insults (usually calling them “hockey pucks,” a phrase for which he became well known), but by embracing and mastering that confrontational type of sarcastic humor as his own.

Rickles also brought his legendary comedic talents to the big and small screens as an actor. In film, he is beloved by many generations as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies (it’s unclear if he had started any work on the upcoming 2019 sequel Toy Story 4). But beyond the Pixar films, he had a varied feature film career that started in the 1950s, including films like Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), Kelly’s Heroes (1970) and Martin Scorsese’s Casino (1995).

Likewise, on television, Rickles’ career spanned decades, often as a guest star, but also as a series headliner on occasion, including 1972’s short-lived The Don Rickles Show and playing the title role in the 1976-78 sitcom C.P.O. Sharkey. In recent years, he guest-starred on sitcoms such as Hot in Cleveland, and was also a staple as a late-night guest for everyone from Johnny Carson to David Letterman. He won a Primetime Emmy for the 2007 HBO documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.