Legendary comedian Don Rickles has died at the age of 90 from kidney failure. Rickles was one of Johnny Carson’s frequent guests on The Tonight Show, where he made a name for himself as an insult comic and helped pave the way for the celebrity roasts that have become ubiquitous today.
Members of my generation will best remember Rickles as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies, though he also played a wise-cracking theater manager (see below!) in Norm MacDonald’s Dirty Work, and played against type as Robert De Niro’s trusted pit boss in Martin Scorsese’s 1995 masterpiece Casino.
Rickles was also an author, publishing his autobiography Rickles’ Book in 2007, followed by Rickles’ Letters the following year. The latter book found him writing cheeky letters to celebrities, including America’s future president Donald Trump. You can read that letter in full below. Rest in peace, Mr. Warmth!
If I hear your name one more time, I’m going to run Regis into traffic.
But in all sincerity, we go way back. From my early days performing for you and all the Trump relatives in both Long Island and Florida, I think of you as family. I know that you’ve been busy, but you;ll be glad to know that I’m still breathing.
But let’s talk business. I’m all for you turning the Statue of Liberty into lofts for the Wall Street kids. Same goes for Grand Central Station. While you’re at it, I think your idea to turn the Amazon rain forest into a theme park is a dandy. If my vote counts, I say you call it Trumpland.
Why not, Don? The world is your oyster. You’re a master of marketing. It’s almost scary how you put your face on everything you own. Why, last time I played Mar-a-Lago, I couldn’t help but notice the Trump face everywhere I looked. There you were, smiling at me from the logo on the stage floor during my performance. After the show, I asked for a bottle of water at the bar and who was staring at me from the label? You, Donald. And at the end of the night I pulled back the shower curtain, and there you were in the tub with two toy ducks and your new wife.
The Other Don
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief