Today is Don Rickles’ birthday. It’s also my mother’s birthday, but that’s another story and another post.
Don Rickles died a month ago. If you’re like me and you always wanted see him live but never did, and you feel cheated, the next best thing may be to watch the terrific John Landis documentary Mr. Warmth.
Johnny Carson was the first to call him Mr. Warmth. It stuck. The Spanish matador music that signaled his entrance on The Tonight Show also meant we were all in for something good. Really good.
Like no one else, Don Rickles could say the most outrageous things to people in his audiences and somehow get away with it. Really, truly outrageous things about race, religion, war. And he kept saying them for almost 60 years. Few took offense. Many regarded a Don Rickles insult as a badge of honor.
He was also a pretty darn good actor too. He did some good movies like The Rat Race with Tony Curtis and some bad (but popular) ones like the Beach Party movies.
He attracted friends of all ages, from Bob Newhart to Jimmy Kimmel.
He never stopped working, even at age 90.
It’s all in the documentary. Netflix it. Trust me on this one.