Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...

updated 11/20/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/20/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

>Don Rickles


SINCE HE HIT THE NIGHTCLUB SCENE IN the 1950s, Don Rickles has been the king of insult comedy. Even now, at age 69, he spends 18 weeks each year calling customers "hockey puck" and "dummy" in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. But Rickles also has a dramatic side; he appeared with Clark Gable in 1958's Run Silent, Run Deep and in Clint Eastwood's 1970 Kelly's Heroes. This month Rickles returns to the screen as the voice of Potato Head in Toy Story and as a casino manager opposite Robert De Niro in Casino.

How was working with De Niro?

I told him, "Forget The Godfather (Part IT) and GoodFellas—you were brilliant in (Mary Shelley's) Frankenstein." He laughed. By the end of the third day, he was my slave. I said, "Shut up, Bob, I'm talking," so often, he thought it was his name.

Is Casino authentic?

Yes. In the '60s, we knew the bosses at the Vegas hotels were connected—that it was a mob thing—but it was never discussed. I was Don—not the Don. Now you've got to get a pass from the teacher to go to the bathroom in Vegas. It's gone corporate.

Is Casino a good break for you?

Not if you're talking money. During the shoot someone said, "This is a great career move." I said, "What career?" At my age, I'm counting how long I'm going to live!

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