Holden Caulfield’s Eulogy for Don Rickles

By Holden Caulfield¹ (Duh!)

I can’t stand hypocrites.

This is only the second time in my life that I have written a eulogy. The first time was for a man that had some special meaning to me, even though he made me look like a bitter kid – he apologized to me, by the way. I wrote about the bunch of phonies that mourned the death of author JD Salinger.

I wrote about how these people didn’t even know JD and how they said some really stupid stuff like, “There will never be another voice like his”. I said that that is exactly the lousy kind of idiotic thing that people say, because really it could mean lots of things, or nothing at all even.²

Well, Don Rickles didn’t have any special meaning to me, as a matter of fact, he didn’t mean anything to me, but he was no hypocrite. He was never afraid to say exactly what was on his mind about anyone at all – right to their faces sometimes. Here are some of the things Don Rickles said about/to famous people:

About Robert De Niro – “They warned me what a serious guy De Niro is …They warned me not to make jokes. So the third day of shooting [Casino], I looked him straight in the face and told him: ‘I can’t work with you. You can’t act.’ The guy fell on the floor. He didn’t stop laughing for 18 weeks. Scorsese fell on the floor too, but he’s so small we couldn’t find him.”

About Martin Scorcese (who directed him in Casino) – “Marty … somebody get a phone book so you can see me. Forty million jobs in show business, I got a midget to direct me.”

About Italians – “Italians are fantastic people, really. They can work you over in an alley while singing an opera.”

About, the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra – “When you enter a room, you have to kiss his ring. I don’t mind, but he has it in his back pocket.”

The Chairman of the Board for crying out loud! Don Rickles said that about the Chairman of the Board.

On the Johnny Carson Show he sat next to Mr. Sinatra, leaned over and said, “Guido says ‘Hi’ and that he took care of that thing for you.” Sinatra, for all of his career, he is accused of being friends with the Mafia and Don Rickles says that on national TV!

Like I said, Don Rickles didn’t mean anything to me, but he was no phony. And now he’s gone.

¹Holden Caulfield is the fictional teenage protagonist and narrator of author JD Salinger’s 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye. ©Little, Brown and Company, Boston. 1951
²Bunch of Phonies Mourn JD Salinger, appeared in Volume 46, Issue 4 of The Onion dated January 20, 2010. http://www.theonion.com/article/bunch-of-phonies-mourn-jd-salinger-2901


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