"I think if I took therapy, the doctor would quit. He'd just pick up the couch and walk out of the room."

Happy birthday Don Rickles!

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Don Rickles (born May 8, 1926) is an American stand-up comedian. He has appeared and lended his voice to characters in many films and on television. He has had long term contracts with hotels in Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe. He is most known for responding to hecklers with insults, one of the first comedians to employ this technique.


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Rickles was born and raised in Queens, New York to Joseph and Frances Rickles. His parents had emigrated from Lithuania. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. When he couldn't find any acting work, he started doing stand up in the Catskill Mountains. This is where he first employed "insult comedy," in which he responded to his hecklers.

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Rickles' big break came in 1957 when Frank Sinatra attended a nightclub in Miami Beach where Rickles was performing. He said to Sinatra," I just saw your movie, 'The Pride and the Passion,' and I want to tell you, the cannon's acting was great." And. "Make yourself at home, Frank. Hit somebody!" Sinatra was so amused that he started encouraging people to see him.

In 1958, Rickles made his film debut with Run Silent, Run Deep starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. He went on to appear in many films including The Rat Race (1960), the Beach Party film series, Casino (1995), Toy Story (1995), and many others.



He also began appearing on talk shows, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Dean Martin Show.

Rickles' insults earned him the titles "The Merchant of Venom" and "Mr. Warmth."

In 1959, Rickles had his first appearance in Las Vegas at the Sahara. He was contracted at various hotels in Las Vegas through the 1970s. He also appeared at the Harah Hotels in Reno and Lake Tahoe.

In 1967, He starred as Felix in the west coast stage presentations of The Odd Couple.

Rickles released a live comedy album, Hello, Dummy!, in 1968 that reached #54 on Billboard's Hot 100.

In 1976, he starred in the sitcom C.P.O. Sharkey, which lasted for two seasons. He starred in a sitcom again in 1993 with Daddy Dearest.

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Rickles has appeared in many films and made many TV appearances. In 1984, he was invited by President Ronald Reagan to the televised Inaugural Gala, where he hurled his insults at many the president and many other dignitaries.

Rickles still performs stand up comedy and appears periodically on television. He recently stated in an interview, "I'm in good health. I'm working better than I ever have. The audiences are great. Why should I retire? I'm like a fighter. The bell rings and you come out and fight. My energy comes alive. And I still enjoy it."

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Thursday, 08 May 2014
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