On May 8th 1926, the American standup comedian and actor, and a frequent guest on, “The Tonight Show,” starring Johnny Carson, was born Donald Jay Rickles.
According to Rickles in an interview he shared about his life, he was born in New York City borough of Queens. His father Max Rickles had immigrated to New York City from the Russian Empire in country known as Lithuania. His mother, who also immigrated to New York, met his father in Europe while living in Austria.
Rickles grew up in the Jackson Heights area, after graduating from Newtown High School, and had enlisted in the Navy and served during World War II, as a seaman first class, but was honorably discharged in 1946.
When he returned home, his family being of the Jewish faith would only speak Yiddish around him.
Two years later, after living at home, decided to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and then played bit parts on television.
Frustrated by a lack of acting work, Rickles began doing stand-up comedy performing in clubs in New York, Miami and Los Angeles. He became known as an insult comedian.
When he started responding back to the audiences that were heckling him to on stage, the New York raised Rickles candidly started talking back to his audience, which didn’t seem odd to him, but soon realized that his audience enjoyed his insults more than his prepared material, that he incorporated his opinions into his act, as his career took off.
Rickles married Barbara Sklar, a native of Philadelphia on March 14, 1965, and had two children: a daughter, Mindy, and a son named Larry.
According to Rickles’ memoir, his grandchildren, Ethan and Harrison Mann, are much more impressed by his role as “Mr. Potato Head” from the movie called, “Toy Story,” than by any of his other achievements.
I remember seeing him in the movie called, “Casino,” playing the character called, Billy Sherman. Today’s YouTube video clip shared by user name (porkchozny), below is section of that part Rickles played as Billy Sherman, opposite to Robert De Niro’s character named Sam.
It was a serious role for Rickles, and after seeing the movie with him, I started to realize how versatile Rickles was as an actor.
Aspired to be a serious actor when he studied drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before doing a stand-up comedy, his classmates included Grace Kelly, Anne Bancroft and Jason Robard.
In lieu of today’s story, if your Don Rickles fan, and would like to know where he would appearing next, (click here) to go to his personal website for more information.
Written and Designed by JD Mitchell