Legendary comic and voice of Mr Potato Head Don Rickles dead at 90

Legendary comedian Don Rickles has died at his home at the age of 90, according to his publicist.


Rickles rose to fame in the 1960s for his rapid-fire wit and the way he hurled insults at Hollywood royalty and politicians. More recently, he found a new generation of fans thanks to his role as Mr Potato Head in the Toy Story films.

The 90-year-old helped insult comedy become mainstream, and once said he turned to insulting people because he was bad at telling traditional jokes. Frank Sinatra was a big fan and ended up becoming one of his close friends.

Rickles was renowned for his no-holds-barred approach, earning him the nickname ‘the Merchant of Venom’. He came under fire in 2012 for a joke in which he called former president Barack Obama a janitor.

There has been an outpouring of grief from celebrities – comedians and actors alike – in the wake of Rickles’ death. On Twitter, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel said 90 years was not long enough.

“One of the sweetest and most lovely people I had the pleasure of knowing,” he wrote. “We miss you already.”

Tom Hanks, meanwhile, said the comedian’s death hit the entertainment world hard.

“A God died today,” he said. “Don Rickles, we did not want to ever lose you.”

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last year, Rickles attributed his longevity to his busy work schedule. The comedian was due to record lines for Toy Story 4, which is scheduled for release in 2019, later this year.

“What keeps me going is that young people still want to see me, which is flattering and great,” he said.

Rickles is survived by his wife Barbara, daughter and two grandchildren. He would have turned 91 next month.