Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Don Rickles. After graduating from high school in New York, Don enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served for two years during World War II on the motor torpedo boat tender USS Cyrene as a seaman first class.
Don sailed on the USS Cyrene through the Panama Canal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and San Francisco. He has said of one deployment, “It was so hot and humid, the crew rotted.” He was honorably discharged in 1946.
After the war, Don became one of comedy’s most famous funnymen. He got his big break when his insult comedy began getting him some attention from the “Chairman of the Board,” Frank Sinatra. He connected with Sinatra by chiding him during a show and eventually became the go-to comic of the Rat Pack stars.
His career took off when he began making appearances on the late-night shows. He was a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “Late Show with David Letterman.”
For more than 55 years he has appeared in top showrooms and concert halls throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Don Rickles passed away today, April 6, 2017. He was 90 years old.
We honor his service.