Fact: Since 1966 Don has annually been voted among the nation's best-dressed men by the Customs Tailors Guild of America and by the Tailors Council of America.
Don Rickles was born in New York City. He attended Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Long Island. His father Max was in the clothing and insurance business. His mother was a housewife.
Rickles was painfully shy as a young child, but says his dad "was a great 'kibitzer' who loved to kid people about themselves. I loved him and adapted his approach. I began to make friends by making people laugh."
He performed in high school plays and at neighborhood dances before starting to work in small nightclubs. At first, Rickles did routine "stand-up" comedy, impressions, jokes, etc.
His "insult" style just happened. Two years after his discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1946, he was working in nightclubs. Never a great joke-teller in the traditional sense, Rickles suddenly found himself talking directly to the audience and throwing "off the cuff" lines at them. The laughs came and the rest, as they say, is history.
Rickles took the "big step" on March 14, 1965, marrying the former Barbara Sklar, of Philadelphia. He recently told an interviewer, "I was a bachelor until 38. I was searching for someone with beauty and simplicity. When I finally found her, I married her." They have a daughter, Mindy Beth, and a son, Lawrence Corey.
Among his proudest moments was the dedication, on February 7, 1982, of the Barbara and Don Rickles Gymnasium at Sinai Temple in West Los Angeles, California. The gymnasium was built with funds raised by Rickles and many of his star friends during a special performance at the Ahmanson Theater in the Los Angeles Music Center.
To relax, Don plays a little golf, (which he complains he plays poorly) and an occasional set of tennis, and is either glued to his TV set or on his way to see a movie. He is a devotee of all spectator sports and many of his close friends are star athletes.
Don Rickles is one of the 20th Century's most famous funny men. For more than 35 years he has appeared in top showrooms in Atlantic City, Reno Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas.
Rickles is also highly visible on TV, as well as in motion pictures, including appearances in Universal Pictures' "Casino," directed by Martin Scorsese, appearing with Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci, and "Toy Story," a revolutionary computer animated feature, from Walt Disney Pictures. Additionally, he has starred in live stage productions and, along the way, has had two best-selling comedy albums.
He is regarded among the world's top entertainers. However -- as they say in show business -- he "paid his dues" before reaching the top.