Don Rickles: Freemason Or Not?

by Midnight Freemason Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°

"Who picks your clothes--Stevie Wonder?"

~Don Rickles

Known as "Mr. Warmth" for his bombastic insults and abrasive humor, Don Rickles enjoyed a career that spanned more than seventy years.  He rose to fame in the 1950s when he spotted Frank Sinatra in the audience during his standup routine in a Miami Beach nightclub--and proceeded to insult his most recent film.  Frank enjoyed his show so much he invited his friends to go and see him and be insulted themselves by the young comedian he called "bullet-head."  Don Rickles was soon headlining in Las Vegas--thanks to the help of the friends he never grew tired of insulting and who never seemed to get tired of being insulted by him. 

He had a long career as a headline comedian, he appeared in many Hollywood movies, and made guest appearances on more television shows than just about any other comedian in history--everything from F-Troop to The Andy Griffith Show to Murphy Brown to most recently in 2011 on Hot in Cleveland where he played a boyfriend of Betty White's.  But without question, he is best known for his more than 100 appearances on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show and his obnoxious performances during Dean Martin Roasts. 

His film career included such classics as 1958's "Run Silent, Run Deep" starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster and 1970's "Kelly's Heroes" which featured an all-star cast that included Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland and Carroll O'Connor.  Younger audiences most likely know his voice well as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies. 

Don Rickles was a character that people tended to have a strong reaction to--you either loved him or hated him.  You either enjoyed his caustic style or you didn't.  But without question, there will never be another comedian quite as unique as Don Rickles.  He was one of a kind. 

But to get back to the original question.  Was Don Rickles a Freemason?

As a matter of fact, he was!  He was raised a Master Mason at Service City Geba Lodge No. 1009 in Astoria, New York on June 6, 1953. 


Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor.  He is the award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog.  He is the Worshipful Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754.  He is a Past Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research. (FMLR) and a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D.  You can contact him at:

1 comment:

  1. Have been streaming Don for the past several days and it occurred to me he comes across as a mason in the last few sentences of warmth and admiration. Happy knowing this great man is a fellow brother mason.

    Bro Nathan J Burke MM
    Lamington 110 UGLQ
    Lodge Herald


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