Celebrities paid tribute to late comedy legend Don Rickles, and unsurprisingly, the 90-year-old’s death hit comics the hardest. Though Rickles was known as the king of insult comedy, his disciples all talked about his kindness.
Jimmy Kimmel broke down in tears on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” as he said, “I’m already crying, which is embarrassing ... But we lost someone that we and I love very much today.”
“I know it sounds crazy to say he was too young, but he was. Because he was youthful and funny and sharp and generous,” he continued. “I was fortunate enough to not only have Don on this show as my guest, but also to become close to him and his wife, Barbara, which was a lot of fun for me.”
“Late Show” host Stephen Colbert said that while he didn’t know Rickles, he did have a noteworthy run-in with him at the Emmys.
“We were both up for Best Host of a variety show. The better one of us won,” Colbert said.
Colbert continued and said when he congratulated Rickles, Rickles hugged him “and told me I was ‘good’. And I felt like a made man. Because we all should have his career and be who he was … married to his wife, I don’t know, 120 years? Something like that. So, God bless you Don Rickles and thank you.”
“He was so beloved by everyone,” said Sarah Silverman in a statement. “To be insulted by him was the greatest honor. Having the privilege to know him a bit personally, I can tell you that he was the warmest, kindest man you could know, with an unflinching love for his family and close friends, especially his best friend and love of his life, Barbara. But you didn’t have to know him personally to know that he was love and kindness personified. If he wasn’t, none of his material would work.”
Bob and Ginnie Newhart said in a statement, “He was called ‘The Merchant of Venom,’ but in truth, he was one of the kindest, caring and most sensitive human beings we have ever known. We are devastated and our world will never be the same. We were totally unprepared for this.”
Robert Klein told the AP, “He was a brilliant improvisational comedian. And an excellent actor. And a very nice man. I’m so happy we had him this long.”
“There were few, if any, that were quicker than Don. He didn’t think of the next line he would use, he was already thinking of the line after that,” said Rich Little in a statement.
Steve Lawrence said in a statement, “I’ve known Don Rickles almost 65 years since we first met as teenagers. I can only imagine his first conversation with God. He might send him back. I love him and I miss him; the world is a sadder place without him.”
“Whenever I wanted to be entertained and just laugh and enjoy life, I would go to see Rickles,” Marty Allen told the AP. “We knew each other very well from a long, long time ago. I loved him as an entertainer and I loved him as a person.”
Bob Saget tweeted that he was heartbroken by the loss: “My friend, my dad, the funniest biggest hearted of them all. A beautiful husband and father. My heart is broken.”
Chris Rock professed his love for Rickles.
More stars talked about their memories of Rickles.