Tag Archives: Don Rickles

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Photo: Bette Midler and Billy Crystal Performing At The Don Rickle’s Roast in 2013

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Friday, May 18, 2018

8 Stars Who Couldn’t Cut It as Murphy Brown’s Secretary, From JFK, Jr To Bette Midler

The Wrap
8 Stars Who Couldn’t Cut It as Murphy Brown’s Secretary
Brian Welk | May 11, 2018 @ 11:14 AM

“Murphy Brown” is returning to television on CBS for 13 episodes during the 2018-19 season — and on May 18 it will have been 20 years since its finale episode aired. While a lot has changed in media since Candice Bergen’s Brown hosted the fictional news broadcast “FYI,” one thing that hasn’t changed is how hard it is to find good help. One of the show’s longest recurring gags was how nearly every week Brown had a wacky and incompetent new secretary, everyone from a man with a Hitler mustache to a pleasant looking woman who worshiped Satan. Over 90 people sat in that assistant’s chair over the show’s 10 seasons, including some celebrity cameos, but not one of them lasted.


Paul Reubens  Pee-Wee Herman himself helped out Murphy Brown, appearing in six episodes of the show as Stan Lansing’s nephew.

Marcia Wallace
Getty Images

Marcia Wallace  Before Marcia Wallace was Edna Krabappel on “The Simpsons,” Wallace had a part on “The Bob Newhart Show” as Bob Hartley’s dynamo of a receptionist Carol Bondurant. During a special crossover episode of “Murphy Brown,” Carol proved to be Brown’s best secretary ever, a real keeper. But at the end of the episode, Bob rushes into the office and begs for Carol to come back and work for him, despite Brown’s pleading.

John F Kennedy Jr Murphy Brown

John Kennedy Jr. You can hear the women in the live audience swooning when it’s revealed that John John is Brown’s latest secretary. “I guess the lawyer thing didn’t work out,” Brown jokes. He wasn’t there to work, but to drop off a “wedding present” that was just a fake cover of the magazine he edited, “George.”

Kramer Murphy Brown

Kramer  When Kramer (Michael Richards) heads out to Los Angeles on an episode of “Seinfeld,” Jerry and Elaine spot him on an episode of “Murphy Brown” as another new secretary. His rapid-fire typing is hysterical, and the show even teases that she has “a good feeling” about him.

sally field
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Sally Field  Murphy Brown would’ve been lucky to have fellow single-mother Norma Rae as her secretary, or better yet her “Absence of Malice” journalist Megan Carter, but instead she got Kathleen Dubek, secretary 91.

rosie o'donnell barron trump autistic
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Rosie O’Donnell  The final season of “Murphy Brown” featured a cavalcade of celebrity cameos, including Rosie O’Donnell as a particularly annoying singing secretary.

don rickles
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Don Rickles  Rickles would’ve been in his 70s by the time he stepped into the secretary job during the show’s final season.

Bette Midler Murphy Brown

Bette Midler  In the show’s stellar finale, Bette Midler took charge as secretary Caprice Feldman. “Caprice! With two Cs, interlocking like Chanel!” Her wealthy socialite type was always told by her (dead) husband that she could never hold down a job. Well she picked one with quite the track record.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

On This Day In History: Bette Midler Was Johnny Carson’s Last Guest

Today in TV History: Johnny Carson’s Last Guests Were Robin Williams and Bette Midler
By Joe Reid @joereid
May 21, 2016 at 11:00am


Of all the great things about television, the greatest is that it’s on every single day. TV history is being made, day in and day out, in ways big and small. In an effort to better appreciate this history, we’re taking a look back, every day, at one particular TV milestone. 


PROGRAM ORIGINALLY AIRED ON THIS DATE: The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

WHY IT’S IMPORTANTYou’d be hard-pressed to come up with too many TV events that had more far-reaching impact than Johnny Carson’s decision to leave The Tonight Show after thirty years as host. Not only did it set off the chain reaction of questionable decision-making and intrigue that were the original Late Night Wars (Leno versus Letterman edition), but it was also a massively important marker of the passage of time. The end of Carson’s reign was in many ways the end of a particular era of television, and even culture.

On his final show with guests (Carson’s actual finale the next night was a clip show), Carson welcomed two of the biggest stars of the era: Robin Williams and Bette Midler. (Both of them, coincidentally enough, were two months removed from being Oscar nominees for 1991.) Carson’s segment with Williams is typically manic, but its topicality is a window into history. The 1992 election, with all its intrigue and scandal, was THE hot topic, and vice-president Dan Quayle’s insistence on making a culture war out of Murphy Brown’s single motherhood had turned Clinton vs. Bush into a battle for the cultural direction of the country, if not the political.

Williams is a live wire in his portion of the episode, and you can see Carson’s genuine delight in not having any idea where he’s going to go next. Carson doesn’t shock easily, but the network censors remind us that they used to bleep out words like “ass” and “balls.” 1992, you adorable thing.

The Bette Midler segment that follows is more widely remembered, particularly for her emotional performance of “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road),” hands down one of the most beautiful moments ever broadcast on television. That camera angle that caught Carson, head perched on his hand, watching Midler serenade him was breathtaking.

Less remembered is the comedic ditty Midler came up with earlier in the show, set to the standard “You Made Me Love You.” And as if two show-stoppers in one hour weren’t enough, Midler and Carson engaged in a semi-impromptu duet on “Here’s That Rainy Day.” Talk about performers who knew how to capitalize on the sentiment of a moment.

Again, the appeal is watching Carson’s genuine rapport with and affection for his guest. That was Carson’s appeal. He was sharp as a tack and could be just as acerbic, but he genuinely loved entertainers, especially favorites like Williams and Midler.

Photo Flash: Inside HELLO, DOLLY’s Opening Night! (broadwayworld.com)
FULL LIST: Nominees, Tony Awards 2017 (rappler.com)
Bette Midler On Her Television Special For NBC: (bootlegbetty.com)
‘Dolly!’ Looks Delish At $1.7M As B.O. Takes Off – But Broadway Attendance Dips (deadline.com)

Bette Midler fan collapses during theatre show, but would rather die than miss Act 2 Read More

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Was Bette Midler Nervous About Making Her First Film, The Rose?:

Was Bette Midler Nervous About Making Her First Film, The Rose?: “Oh this isn’t my first film. I’ve never told anybody this. I never thought I’d have any reason to. But once I was an extra. I was an extra in The Detective with Frank Sinatra. And then I was an extra in…are you ready?…Goodbye Columbus. Thirty two fifty a day to and from New Rochelle to watch Ali McGraw snap at the straps of her bathing suit. Snap those straps Ali. Snap those things. (Plain Dealer, September 17, 1978)

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bette Midler To Johnny Carson:

Bette Midler To Johnny Carson:Hollywood isn’t dead,. It’s sitting right in this chair.” (Albuquerque Tribune, October 4, 1973)

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Monday, April 17, 2017

BetteBack January 28, 2000: ‘Great’ Bette for a good time

The Boston Herald
January 28, 2000 | Verniere, James


Isn’t She Great.”

Rated R. At Copley Place and suburban theaters.

three stars

A kooky labor of love, “Isn’t She Great” confidently sports no question mark in the title and stars the Divine Miss M as Austin Powers’ favorite writer Jacqueline Susann.

Susann, as some may remember if this film is to have any shelf life at all, was the failed actress-turned-best-selling author of the shag-a-licious novels “The Valley of the Dolls,” “The Love Machine” and “Once Is Not Enough.” While she didn’t quite change the face of American publishing with her poodle and Pucci wardrobe and her sex-crazed, pill-popping starlets eager to trade their nubile flesh for movie roles as long as the supply of uppers and downers never ran out, Jacqueline Susann was something else, all right.

Her fame was a bona fidetriumph of the will, if not the quill, and her sex-crammed novels, typed apparently all in capital letters, were the literary and dietetic equivalent of potato chips. But ordinary people read them by the millions. On a whirlwind publicity campaign to sell Jackie’s first novel, husband-manager Irving Mansfield (Nathan Lane) lovingly describes “The Valley of the Dolls” as “like ‘Gone With the Wind,’ only filthy.” Although Susann owed a debt to schlockmeisters Harold Robbins and Sidney Sheldon, she was the pre-feminist pioneer in the field, and she gave birth to a thousand imitators and a few unforgettably godawful films.

The kitschy cult of Jackie Susann, who died in 1974, might be panting at the prospect of this movie for all I know, and they might even embrace this sitcomish effort. Directed by Andrew Bergman (“The Freshman,” “Striptease”) from a script by Paul Rudnick (“In & Out”), =&0=&plays Susann as a force of nature, and her trashy, retro wardrobe alone is worth the price of admission. In a scene in which her uptight WASP editor (a typecast but funny David Hyde Pierce) first meets Jackie and Irving, =&0=& rocks the house merely by making three separate entrances in three smashingly hilarious frocks.

Stockard Channing also scores as Jackie’s best friend and muse, the ab-fab New York actress Florence Maybelle. And in a small role John Cleese, sporting his own hilariously outre fashions, is splendidly randy as Jackie’s tasteless publisher.

But the film, which is based on the New Yorker story “Wasn’t She Great” by Michael Korda and features two new songs by ’60s pop icon Burt Bacharach, is too polite and strives too hard to make Jackie a heroine. This is not “A Star Is Born” despite Bergman’s leanings in that direction. Two scenes in which Jackie and Irving stand under a tree in Central Park and talk to God would have been enough. Jackie and Irving’s visits to see their institutionalized, autistic son are anesthetic. Jackie’s courage in the face of her breast cancer, on the other hand, is allowed to speak for itself.

Typical of the movie is its re-creation of Jackie’s legendary appearance on “The Tonight Show.” In real life, a viperish Truman Capote was seated to Susann’s immediate right, and, no doubt jealous of her success, felt obliged to insult her, declaring she looked “like a truck driver in drag.” In the film, Jackie appears, “Zelig”-like, with a ’60s-vintage Johnny Carson, but Capote makes his remarks alone and on another show. Later, Jackie and Irving hobnob in the Aegean with Aristotle Onassis (Frank Vincent) and “the other Jackie.” But the filmmakers respectfully keep “the other Jackie” off-camera. They might be afraid of being accused of bad taste, but Jackie Susann never was. Moreover, the film upstages itself by showing us a scene from the deliriously awful 1967 film “The Valley of the Dolls.” The moral is: There’s no trash like real trash.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

BetteBack September 30, 1974: Bette Midler To Roast Johnny Carson At Charity Dinner

Anderson Herald Bulletin
September 30, 1974


Anybody surprised that Bob Hope will be emcee at the Friar Club charity dinner honoring Johnny Carson on October 19. The combination of the King of Emcees saluting the King of Midnight should get the festivities off to a smashing start.

Others on tap will be Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler. Don Rickles, Alan King, Red Buttons, Jan Murray, Pat Henry, Bob Newhart, Jimmy Stewart, George Sega! and who else is in town?

President of the Friars, Buddy Hackett, has the event scheduled for the grand ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

BetteBack September 23, 1990: Bette Midler Wears Luxurious Reptile Accessories
Midler’s Almost-Forgotten Debut Album Still Remains A Classic Of The ’70s Nostalgia/Camp Boom
BetteBack September 13, 1972: Bette Midler’s Star Rises Fast | BootLeg Betty
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BetteBack March 19, 1996: Who Will Play Mame In The TV Adaption | BootLeg Betty Read More

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

BetteBack January 28, 2000: Isn’t She Great? No. Grating? Yes.

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
January 28, 2000 | Gire, Dann


Isn’t She Great

Written by Paul Rudnick; based on an article by Michael Korda. Produced by Mike Lobell. Directed by Andrew Bergman. A Universal Pictures release. Rated R (language). Running time: 95 minutes.


Jacqueline Susann =&0=& =&1=&

Irving Mansfield Nathan Lane

Florence Maybelle Stockard Channing

Michael Hastings David Hyde Pierce

Henry Marcus John Cleese

Great? No.

Grating? Yes.

This cold comic look at the life and death of trash romance novelist Jacqueline Susann has ear-gouging dialogue, rude conversations with God and – something that time will eventually prove me right about – the single biggest miscasting of the new millennium.

In “Isn’t She Great,” =&0=& =&1=& plays Susann as a scary combination of Momma Rose and =&0=& Davis’ Baby Jane. She delivers every line with Ethel Mermanesque bombast, and creates a character so egregiously histrionic that she would be judged too “over the top” even for TV sitcoms.

The rest of “Isn’t She Great” isn’t so great, either. It plays like A&E’s “Biography” as put together by disgruntled interns at “Saturday Night Live.”

Nathan Lane, in a valiant attempt to rise above this material, narrates “Isn’t She Great” as a personal remembrance by New York press agent Irving Mansfield. He tells how he fell in love with a struggling young actress named Jackie Susann.

“I want you as a woman!” Irving shouts to Jackie, “and as a client!” Irving eventually uses his marketing savvy to transform her into America’s best-selling author of the 1960s.

With her first book, “Valley of the Dolls,” Susann bursts upon the best-seller lists with her no-holds-barred account of drugs, sex, booze, scandals and power struggles in Hollywood.

She continues to churn out trashy romances, many of which become movies. She hits the celebrity circuit, even trading jokes with Johnny Carson.

But Susann’s life hardly ranks as a fairy-tale existence. Early on, she suffers from breast cancer and undergoes extensive radiation therapy. She and Irving become parents to an autistic son, Guy, who they keep in a full-time care center.

From the get-go, “Isn’t She Great” strives for the same one-two punch of comedy and tears that James Brooks’ excellent “As Good As It Gets” managed to pull off effortlessly in every scene.

It never happens here.

Director Andrew “The Freshman” Bergman, working from Paul “In & Out” Rudnick’s script, gives =&1=& so much free rein that whatever warmth and tragedy the story might have held gets pushed aside by shrill caricatures and sketch comedy.

When Irving goes shopping for a gift for his wife, Jackie’s best friend, actress Florence Maybelle (an Elizabeth Taylorized Stockard Channing), suggests he pick up an expensive black-and-white pearl necklace.

“If a man gave that to me,” she purrs with a “Married … With Children” sitcom delivery, “I’d not only have sex with him … I’d enjoy it!”

“Frasier” sitcom star David Hyde Pierce recycles his uptight pigeon-holed personality as Michael Hastings, a persnickety editor for Jackie’s publisher, Henry Marcus (a wasted use of Monty Pythonite John Cleese).

The fastidious Hastings drags Jackie and Irving over to his mother’s posh homestead to work quietly. There, the flamboyant Miss J. gets his elderly Aunt Abigail and Grandma Mimsy to fondly talk about their lesbian leanings.


“She never got the breaks,” Irving solemnly swears as he reflects on his late wife’s life, “so she made her own!”

Good for her, because “Isn’t She Great” doesn’t give us any.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Bette & Billy Crystal at Don Rickles, Lifetime Achievement Award for Comedy June 26th


Bette & Billy Crystal at Don Rickles, Lifetime Achievement Award for Comedy
Photo Credit David Alan Kogut
June 26th

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Don Rickles Gets Roasted!

Huffington Post
By Regina Weinreich
Don Rickles “Rickled” at the Friars Club Roast -eh, Toast
Posted: 06/25/2013 9:40 am

USA: Bette Midler's 12th Annual Spring Picnic

The night was not exactly like the baudy The Aristocrats, a film featuring comedians telling roughly the same story, each one raunchier than the one before. At the Waldorf Astoria on Monday night, a Who’s Who of comedy, a lineup that included John Stamos, Bob Newhart, Joan Rivers, Tony Danza, Kathy Griffin, Lewis Black (“Rickles rickles you exquisitely”), Louis CK (“Rickles meets the missile before it hits”), Regis Philbin, Bob Costas, and Robert DeNiro, “the serious actor,” got up to insult the master of insult comedy, Mr. Don Rickles in awarding him for The Friars Lifetime Achievement in Comedy. Clips from others: David Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern, Jon Stewart, all had the same conceit: pretending they wished to be there (NOT)! Perhaps Rickles wanted to prove a point, but especially Bob Saget, the dirtiest of the dirty Aristocrat storytellers was asked to keep it clean. Without the four-letter words, the cussing, it’s amazing how funny he can be, quipping, “I’m Jewish, circumsized 9 times. Enjoy the calamari.”

Borscht belt veteran Freddie Roman kept the proceedings moving along. An auction had Louis CK and John Mayer vying for the same old piano Frank Sinatra and Steve Lawrence played back in the day, until Boyd Tinsley of the Dave Matthews Band snagged it for $70,000. Arturo Sandoval, Diana Krall performed, John Mayer sang the saloon classic, “One for my Baby and One More for the Road,” and Natalie Cole did her dad’s “Unforgettable.”
When he got up to the podium, the master at 87 still had “IT.” On Diana Krall, Don Rickles insisted he wanted Elvis, “Her husband’s the real star. He couldn’t make it because he wanted real money.” Churlish to the core, Rickles chided Louis CK–he won 5 Emmies, what does he do? “I laughed because you laughed.” Imitating Tony Bennett crooning, he japed, “Of course he had to leave. This was too exciting for him.” Don Rickles blew them all away.

For a finale, they all crowded the stage with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler joining in. And Diana Krall sang, “The Best is Yet to Come,” with everyone joining in.

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