|Don Rickles, seen accepting the Johnny Carson Award at the 2012 Comedy Awards, has died at the age of 90. |
(Charles Sykes/Associated Press)
U.S. comedian Don Rickles, the performance curmudgeon known for his abrasive mocking and more recently as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies, has died at the age of 90.
Rickles died Thursday morning from kidney failure at his Los Angeles home, according to his longtime publicist Paul Shefrin.
Though people close to him praised him as a good guy and a devoted family man, Rickles gained fame for an acerbic, insult-filled brand of humour that spared no one — from regular Joes to U.S. presidents to the famously hot-tempered Frank Sinatra, who became one of his champions and a close friend.
Born in New York, Rickles served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War and later graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
He occasionally appeared in films over the years, including The Rat Race with Tony Curtis, Pajama Party and Beach Blanket Bingo with Annette Funicello, Kelly's Heroes with Clint Eastwood and films in the Toy Story franchise.
He was also a regular face on TV, guest starring on a wide range of shows, from The Twilight Zone to The Dick Van Dyke Show to Laugh-In to Hot in Cleveland.
Rickles toiled away on the conventional stand-up scene, but truly broke through on the nightclub circuit when he honed his act toward takedowns — comedic verbal assaults of stars, public figures, Las Vegas crowds and TV audience members.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara Sklar, his daughter Mindy and grandchildren. A private funeral is being arranged.