The passing of Don Rickles has touched the world of Hollywood in a way many may not have expected. Jimmy Kimmel, in particular, was an emotional mess when he opened last night's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, foregoing the usual monologue to share with the audience some hilarious and touching details behind his personal friendship with the 90-year-old comedian. It really showed what a great friend Rickles could be, and you can watch the long-but-well-worth-it tribute below:
I'm not even embarrassed to admit Jimmy Kimmel got me to tear up for a moment there. It's a powerful emotion you feel when you lose a hero, and even more powerful when that hero was someone close to you. You can tell that what Kimmel was saying was as genuine as anything he's uttered on that stage, and that he was mourning the loss of a real friend up there. Their friendship is even more apparent when the footage rolls of their interviews together!
I think what Jimmy Kimmel shows very well in his tribute is that Don Rickles was authentic through and through. All of Kimmel's stories, personal notes, and anecdotes from other celebrities point to the fact that Rickles was the riotous man in person that he was on stage in front of an audience. That's not something you can say about all celebrities, and it really speaks to Rickles natural talent that he was always "on". Even in his advanced age, the man was so quick-witted and observational that you could tell that his mental sharpness clearly aged slower than his physical body did.
Let's hope the tributes and stories continue to roll in from those who knew Don Rickles, because I can't get enough of them. It's so weird that Jimmy Kimmel mentions Rickles telling Frank Sinatra stories, as I stumbled across video earlier today in which Sinatra flips the script and tells a Rickles story on Johnny Carson. I won't spoil the story, as I can't do it near the justice of "Old Blue Eyes," but suffice to say it'll bring a smile to your face. (It can be viewed on the next page.)
Good on Jimmy Kimmel for really breaking the barrier between professional and personal by putting himself out there with his Don Rickles tribute. Part of me wondered while watching if Rickles would've heckled Kimmel had he been present to see his own television eulogy. Be sure to check out the video on the next page with Frank Sinatra, and also hit up our midseason premiere guide and summer premiere schedule to keep up with all the latest in television.