Estelle Harris, who voiced Mrs. Potato Head alongside Rickles' Mr. Potato Head in 'Toy Story,' and 'Beach Blanket Bingo' co-star Frankie Avalon also pay tribute to the legendary comedian who died April 6.
I don't remember ever not knowing who Don Rickles was. His kids were a couple of years older than me, and we went to the same grammar school. Don Rickles, Carol Burnett, the Newharts, these were just my friends' parents.
The sarcastic joke was that he was "Mr. Warmth," but I don't remember him or his family being anything but lovely. When my mom [Joan] passed, I had shiva and they were here, Don and his wife. They had lost their son [Larry] a few years back, and I remember my mom on the phone with him and just crying. When they came to my house, they sat in the library, and it was more of a feeling than anything he said. He was just so sad that you could see it written all over him.
When he and my mom would tour, he was starting to have health issues. There was this old man sitting in a chair, but then his foot would hit the boards and the light would hit him and he was ageless. Performing was part of who they were. These two little old people, walking out onstage, doing a tight 50 [minutes] and walking back offstage with him saying, "Oh, my knees" and she's going, "Oh, my back."
People were like, "What?" — but we spent a good amount of time together. I would go to Vegas and watch the shows and hang out. The first five or 10 years of our friendship we talked on the phone a lot, like two schoolgirls. He never got the concept of me not being there to answer the phone. If I didn't call him back in 30 seconds, he'd call again. Every year for his birthday I'd send him roses, one for each year. He'd always get pissed at me. Last year I sent him 90 roses. "What am I going to do with all these flowers? I have to call a gardener?" Maybe he wanted to save me from sending him 91 roses.
Read Stamos' full tribute here.
He was so opposite of what he represented on that stage. His bombastic point of view was hilarious and fun, but he wasn't like that at all. He was a very quiet, very sensitive man. Even in the beach party movies, he was very serious about what he was doing. He was dedicated to acting. I remember we did this one scene, maybe in Beach Blanket Bingo, where I was skydiving and I land and he and Annette [Funicello] come rushing up at me and I have a couple of lines about how much fun skydiving was. If you ever see that particular scene, he looks at me and just smacks me in the face and walks off. It wasn't in the script, but they kept it in the movie.
We did two years of C.P.O. Sharkey together. After every taping, he’d have this get-together in his dressing room with his friends, like Bob Newhart, and I was always invited. And of course he’d make fun of me. But beneath that attack-dog persona, he was a very gentle and generous man.
I had been an admirer of Don Rickles and his nasty humor for many, many years, and when I found out I was going to work with him on Toy Story 2, I was very excited and frankly a little nervous. When we finally got to meet, I was a little bit intimidated at first. But I let him know as soon as we met: "You better not say anything nasty to me or about me because if you do I'm going to tell you to go f— yourself." At that point, he looked at me with a little bit of a shocked expression, then he smiled his wonderful smile and hugged me, and I knew that we were going to be lifelong friends.