Mr. Warmth: Don Rickles
Dec. 12, 1979: Don Rickles at a salute to Frank Sinatra at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Rickles couldn’t miss the event – Dec. 12th being Sinatra’s birthday. As reported by Abby Sewell for the Los Angeles Times Hollywood Star Walk, Rickles had heckled Sinatra for years:
Don Rickles is a famous “insult comic” who, early in his career, made a name for himself by heckling tough-guy singer Frank Sinatra….
In Los Angeles Rickles became a stand-up regular at a club called Slate Brothers. The club was the site of his now-famous heckling of Sinatra. The singer’s mother, Dolly, was a friend of Rickles’ mother, and according to Reuters, Dolly forced her son to go to one of the comic’s performances.
When Sinatra walked in, Rickles greeted him with, “Frank, make yourself at home. Hit somebody.”
On YouTube is this video of Don Rickles at the 1978 Dean Martin Roast of Frank Sinatra.
The L.A. Times did not do a story on the Sinatra salute — thus this image was not published in 1979. Former Times staff photographer George Rose recently added “I loved that event. A real Rat Pack gathering.”
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