Some Things You Might Not Have Known About Don Rickles

April 17, 2014

Titans of Talk: Don and Johnny hammed it up on Carson's Tonight Show
Courtesy of: © NBC Universal, Inc./Getty Images

Johnny Carson and Don Rickles were thick as thieves during Carson's Tonight Show tenure, with Carson credited with giving Rickles his "Mr. Warmth" nickname. The nickname was a fitting choice for Rickles, who went on to perform over 100 times on Carson's late-night talker. In perhaps his most noteworthy appearance on the Tonight Show, Rickles joined Johnny in interviewing longtime friend Frank Sinatra. Behind the scenes, Rickles and Carson maintained a friendly rivalry. After an episode of the Tonight Show in which Bob Newhart had served as guest host, Carson returned to his late night post to learn that Rickles had broken a treasured cigarette box. Irate, Carson and his Tonight Show camera crew stormed down the hall to Rickles' live sitcom set, CPO Sharkey to read him the riot act. Carson managed to catch Rickles completely off-guard, and Rickles was left speechless by Carson. The tables had turned, and the man famous for "Rickling" his friends and colleagues, had been "out-Rickled."

Pitch Hitting for the Dodgers

Rickles has been a massive Los Angeles Dodgers fan for over 40 years. Because of his friendship with former Dodgers Manager, Tommy Lasorda, Rickles was able to experience a once-in-a lifetime moment for any sports fan. Lasorda invited Rickles to don a jersey and sit in the dugout with the team during the last game of the 1977 season. If that wasn't enough, Lasorda even had Rickles go out on the field and pull the pitcher in the sixth inning. After the pitcher refused to leave the mound, the home plate umpire decided to investigate. The pitcher wasn't too happy, but the umpire was thrilled when he realized the "coach" at the mound was Rickles.

The Matador Music

Ever wondered why Don Rickles prefers to take the stage to Spanish matador music? Well, in Rickles' own words, he likes to be introduced by the song, "La Virgen de la Macarena," because, "I always pictured myself facing the audience as the matador."