Don Rickles

The Merchant of Venom

Michael Seth Starr

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Citadel Press img Link Publisher

Sachbuch / Biographien, Autobiographien

Beschreibung

The first comprehensive, full-length biography of Don Rickles, the legendary comedian whose career spanned six decades and influenced generations of comedians, written by celebrity biographer Michael Starr, who has covered television at The New York Post as a reporter, columnist, and critic since 1995.

Riding a wave of success that lasted more than sixty years, Don Rickles is best known as the “insult” comic who skewered presidents, royalty, celebrities, and friends and fans alike. But there was more to “Mr. Warmth” than a devilish ear-to-ear grin and lightning-fast put-downs. Rickles was a loving husband, an adoring father who suffered a devastating loss, and a loyal friend to the likes of Bob Newhart and Frank Sinatra. Don was also a young student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts with future stars Jason Robards, Jr., Don Murray, and Grace Kelly, and intended to become a seriously committed actor. But it was in small nightclubs where Rickles found success, steamrolling hecklers, honing his acerbic put-downs, and teaching the world to love being insulted. Sex, race, religion, nationality, physical appearance, political leanings—nothing and no one was safe from the “Planned Parenthood Poster Boy,” as Johnny Carson referred to him.

The Merchant of Venom traces Don Rickles’ career from his rise in the 1950s to a late-in-life resurgence thanks to the Toy Story franchise, his role in Martin Scorsese’s Casino, and scores of TV appearances from Carson to Seth Meyers. In the intervening decades, Rickles conquered every medium he worked in, including film, television, and on stage, where the Vegas legend was still performing at the age of eighty-five. In his highly memorable career, he was idolized by a generation of younger comedians including Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Jay Leno, and performed in the shadow of a shocking open secret: he was the nicest man in town.

An in-depth portrait of the personal and singular professional life of Don Rickles, The Merchant of Venom delivers a hilarious, moving, and long-overdue look at the real man behind the sting.

 

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