Rickles became a regular on late-night talk shows, especially The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, as well as his forte: televised celebrity roasts. "But we lost someone that we and I love very much today".
Kimmel then divulged that it took him four years to convince the "Toy Story" star to come on his show.
Don Rickles, who was one of the greatest insult comedians of all time, died Thursday at 90 years old. I know it sounds insane to say he was too young, but he was... he was youthful and amusing and sharp and generous, and I was fortunate enough not only to have Don on this show as my guest, but also to become close to him and his wife Barbara.
He also made a number of appearances on television shows such as "Archie Bunker's Place", "The Lucy Show", "Get Smart" and "Hot In Cleveland", and later in films like The Rat Race in the 1960s and Martin Scorsese's Vegas-mobster movie Casino in 1995. "When he'd come to my house, he'd yell about the stairs, as if I put them there specifically to inconvenience him".
In a statement, Rickles' close friends Bob Newhart and his wife Ginnie said of the comic, "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". Kimmel developed a friendship with Rickles over the years, and spoke through tears to share his memories of "Mr. Warmth".
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"It was exciting", Kimmel said.
Thanks to the host's truly touching opening monologue, you can really get a sense of what Rickles meant to Kimmel on and off screen.
TV execs tried to cash in on his popularity with "The Don Rickles Show" in 1972 but it was short-lived. "He would always ask about my parents, my kids".
The legendary comedian Don Rickles has died at the age of 90, according to multiple media sources. I will sorely miss this incredibly amusing and lovable man'. "He'd tell me to keep his name alive".
Don Rickles has made millions of us laugh over a long career run.
Rickles described his own act - and longevity - as being "the guy at the Christmas party who makes fun of the boss on Friday night and still has his job on Monday morning".