Legendary insult comedian Don Rickles dies at 90
Rickles' career spanned more than seven decades.
(NBC News) - Don Rickles, the legendary comedian whose acid-tongued insults and cantankerous persona delighted audiences for generations, died on Thursday. He was 90.
Paul Shefrin, his longtime publicist, said Rickles died of kidney failure at his home in Los Angeles.
Rickles, whose career spanned more than six decades and included scene-stealing roles in films like "Casino" and the "Toy Story" trilogy, was a fixture on the late-night talk show circuit, making frequent appearances on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and other franchises. He mastered a take-no-prisoners style of stand-up comedy — blasting hecklers as "hockey pucks," most famously — that earned him the nicknames "Mr. Warmth" and "The Merchant of Venom."
Born in New York City in 1926, Rickles flung himself from a modest youth in Queens to the highest reaches of comedy stardom, headlining casinos and nightclubs from Las Vegas to Atlantic City, New Jersey. With the help of his buddy Frank Sinatra, Rickles became of one of the icons of Vegas in its bada-bing glory days, selling out shows in which no one — not even Ol' Blue Eyes himself — was spared from Rickles' lacerating wit.