For most of his career, Don Rickles was synonymous with the term “insult comic,” and he could dish it out better than anyone. Yet he always did so with a spark of affection. Even at his meanest, you could tell he loved most of his marks. In fact, those were probably the ones he’d be harshest to. That’s why he was famous for being the only guy who could get away with insulting Frank Sinatra to his face. That’s also why today, with news of his passing at age 90, the world is remembering him with fondness.
90 years with Don Rickles weren’t enough. One of the sweetest and most lovely people I had the pleasure of knowing. We miss you already
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) April 6, 2017
Don Rickles was a cyclone of funny with a heart of gold. Is God ready for your maniacal wit? Would love to hear what you said on arrival.
— Lewis Black (@TheLewisBlack) April 6, 2017
Rickles began doing stand-up then migrated to movies and television, with the latter becoming a staple on talk shows like The Tonight Show. He had his own programs and starred in others, including the 1970s sitcom C.P.O. Sharkey, in which he played the title naval officer. In the last 20 years, he’s become an icon for a new generation through his role as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in Pixar’s Toy Story movies. He even got to carry over his most famous epithet, “hocky puck,” to the first of the animated features.
Here are some of his movie highlights:
First up, a collection of Mr. Potato Head moments from the three Toy Story features:
The same year he debuted as Mr. Potato Head, Rickles also had a significant supporting role in Martin Scorsese’s Casino as casino manager Billy Sherbert:
Prior to then, his most memorable movie role was as the supply sergeant “Crapgame” in Kelly’s Heroes:
His movie debut, a serious role in the 1958 World War II submarine movie Run Silent Run Deep, is also worth checking out:
In 1992, he received praise for his supporting performance in John Landis’s horror comedy Innocent Blood. This one’s a little gross:
His role as a movie theater manager in the comedy Dirty Work is annother favorite:
And as a bonus, here’s one of his many Tonight Show appearances, which is also one of his most famous roasts of Sinatra: