A Look Inside Don Rickles' Childhood Apartment
The apartment building in Queens, N.Y., that Don Rickles once called home is still standing in the Queens, N.Y., neighborhood where the legendary comedian and roast master grew up.
Rickles was born in Jackson Heights to Jewish parents in 1926. He spent his childhood in the two-bedroom unit with his father, an immigrant from Lithuania who worked as an insurance salesman, and his mother, a New York City native.
Following high school, Rickles enlisted in the Navy and served in World War II. After two years in the service he attended the American Academy of the Dramatic Arts to learn acting.
When the serious acting roles didn’t come, he tried stand-up comedy, eventually mastering his craft and becoming the legend that inspired comics of today, including Jimmy Kimmel, Chris Rock, Jeff Ross and Whoopi Goldberg.
Rickles cut his teeth on the late night TV circuit and following a breakout appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1965, he and gained notoriety as a frequent guest.
Prior to his passing, he still made late night TV appearances, including many on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Kimmel broke down on his show Thursday night, as he remembered his good friend and hero.
"He was 90 years old, and I know it sounds crazy to say he was too young, but he was because he was youthful and funny and sharp and generous," Kimmel tearfully said. “He'd always say, 'Keep my name alive,' he'd tell me to keep his name alive, which I thought was funny, you know, because, 'You're Don Rickles! You keep MY name alive!'"
Jimmy Fallon paid tribute to the 90-year-old comedy icon on The Tonight Show, saying, "I’ve personally been out to dinner with him a few times where he said some truly, truly mean things to me, which if you're a fan, that's an honor. Our thoughts and prayers go out his family."
On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert paid tribute to the late comic.
"While I didn't know Don Rickles, I did have the incredible honor to meet him once backstage at the Emmys," Colbert said. We were both up for Best Host of a Variety Show, and the better one of us won," Colbert said. "I went over to congratulate him when he was doing his photos backstage with his Emmy, and our show The Colbert Report had just won for writing, and he hugged me 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."
On The Late Late Show, Seth Meyers called Rickles "One of the all-time greats."
Rickles died Thursday morning at his home in Beverly Hills after suffering from kidney failure, according to his publicist.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara; their daughter, Mindy Mann and two grandchildren, Ethan and Harrison Mann. Rickles and his wife also had a son, Larry, who passed away in 2011.