Martin Scorsese has shared a heartfelt tribute to the late comedian Don Rickles, who once stole scenes as a hawk-eyed casino manager in Casino.
“Don Rickles was a giant, a legend … and I can hear his voice now, skewering me for being so lofty,” Scorsese said in a statement provided to EW. “I had the honor of working with him on my picture Casino. He was a professional. He kept me doubled over with laughter every day on the set — yet he was a complete pro.”
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Scorsese continued, “We became friends over the years, and I had the honor of being roasted by him more than once — sometimes when I didn’t expect it. He just started showing up at places and insulting me. Experiencing Don, and tuning into his mind, I witnessed the evolution of his comedy. It was like listening to a great jazz musician wail. Nobody else did what he did. He made comedy into an art form. And like all geniuses, comic or otherwise, he’s irreplaceable. He was much loved. I’m really missing this man.”
Back in 1997, Rickles memorably roasted Scorsese when the filmmaker received the AFI Life Achievement Award. “Marty, you are the most annoying director I ever had,” Rickles said. He added, “When we see all the films you did, none of them were great. None of them.”
Watch Rickles roast Scorsese in the video above.