Few, if any, have been as universally loved as the one and only Mr. Don Rickles. The comedian had his own unique brand that would be the furtherest thing away from political correctness. Always being a equal opportunity offender as he made a career of dishing out jibes and jokes across seven plus decades.
His death this week at the age of 90 brought out a flood of tributes from all quarters of the entertainment industry. From the big hitting actors like Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hanks, Barbara Streisand and Whoopi Goldberg, to fellow comedians including Andy Richter, Marc Maron, Richard Lewis, Jimmy Kimmel and a whole lot more. Thousands of celebs left their personal tribute to the great man.
Kindness Hidden Behind The Insults
Bob Newhart has known Rickles throughout their time in the spotlight together. And he wanted to stress that, while the joker would portray a certain impression, the truth was something different.
"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."
Appearing in a cameo for the documentary Robert Klein Still Can't Stop His Leg, Klein supported Newhart's claim that the person was a totally different human being from the brash public persona.
"Don Rickles was a brilliant improvisational comedian as well as an excellent actor. What many people do not realize is that for someone so widely known as an insult comedian, Don Rickles was also, genuinely, a very kind man."
Scorsese: Don Created Art From His Comedy
Director Martin Scorsese only had the privilege of working with Rickles once for the 1995 ensemble drama Casino. But it gave him a chance to develop a bond with the comedian. Featuring next to Robert De Niro, Rickles would have the normally calm and composed filmmaker in hysterics.
"Don Rickles was a giant, a legend," he started, "and I can hear his voice now, skewering me for being so lofty. I had the honor of working with him on my picture Casino. He was a professional. He kept me doubled over with laughter every day on the set, yet he was a complete pro. We became friends over the years and I had the honor of being roasted by him more than once, sometimes when I didn't expect it. He just started showing up at places and insulting me. Experiencing Don, and tuning into his mind, I witnessed the evolution of his comedy. It was like listening to a great jazz musician wail. Nobody else did what he did. He made comedy into an art form. And like all geniuses, comic or otherwise, he's irreplaceable. He was much loved. I'm really missing this man."