Remembering Don Rickles – Comedian, Actor and USN WWII Veteran

Don Rickles starring in C.P.O. Sharkey as U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Otto Sharkey

Don Rickles (May 8, 1926 – April 6, 2017) was well-known in many circles as one of the most respected talents in entertainment.  His quick wit and snappy comebacks made him a favorite at celebrity roasts and stage shows.   Rickles got his start doing stand-up comedy before landing roles in movies and television shows. 

Photo showing what is believed to be Famous Veteran Don Rickles in his Navy Uniform sometime between 1941 and 1945 (very likely taken during boot-camp)

Photo of who is believed to be Famous Veteran Don Rickles in Uniform sometime between 1941 and 1945

Rickles’ most notable roles and appearances include:
Movies: Run Silent Run Deep (1958), X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963), Bikini Beach (1964), Enter Laughing (1967), Kelly’s Heroes (1970), Casino (1995), Zookeeper (2011 voice-over work) and as Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies.
Television: F Troop, The Thin Man, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Spy and Run for Your Life and C.P.O. Sharkey (where Rickles starred as U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Otto Sharkey).
Variety/Late Night Shows: The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The Dean Martin Show and The Andy Williams Show.

While Don Rickles is best-known as an incredible comedian, star of television and the big screen, celebrity roasts and late-night talk shows and–let us not forget–Mr. Potato Head (Toy Story I and II)…  did you know he also proudly served in the United States Navy during WWII from 1941 to 1946.  Rickles enlisted in the United States Navy after high school. He served aboard the USS Cyrene (a torpedo boat tender) in the Pacific.

Don Rickles is another on a long list of Famous Veterans who are unique in the fact that they all wore a military uniform at one time or another in their lives!

Don Rickles passed away on April 6, 2017 at the age of 90 from kidney failure.  RIP, sir!  And thank you for your humor and especially your service to our great country!


Famous Veterans: these public figures (actors, directors, musicians, comedians, artists, singers, athletes, politicians) all served in the United States Armed Forces. Another reason to love your favorite celebrity: FamousVeterans!

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