Barbara Rickles, the widow of late comedian Don Rickles, has died. According to the Associated Press, Barbara was 84 at the time of her passing. Her spokesperson, Paul Shefrin, confirmed that she died on Sunday at her home in Los Angeles due to non-Hodgkins lymphoma. WNEP News also pointed out that Barbara died on March 14, which would have marked her and Don's 56th wedding anniversary.
On his Facebook page, Shefrin wrote, "They were incredibly devoted to each other. She was the perfect woman for Don and vice-versa." Several others, including Bob Saget, have also paid tribute to Barbara in light of her passing. On Twitter, Saget wrote, "So sad to lose the beautiful, funny, wonderful Barbara Rickles." Barbara, a native of Philadelphia, met Don through his film agent, for whom she briefly worked. The pair went on to wed on March 14, 1965 and welcomed two children together Mindy and Larry Rickles. Mindy opened up about her parent's marriage to the Associated Press, telling the publication that they were happily married up until Don's 2017 death.
Mindy explained that the family stayed together even when Don was on the road traveling for work. She noted that Barbara was always there to greet visitors at Don's dressing room and that she would dine with him after his shows. Barbara and Don even traveled with another long-term Hollywood couple, Bob and Ginny Newhart, with whom they enjoyed a close friendship. Despite the fact that they were in the spotlight due to Don's prominence in the entertainment industry, Mindy said that her mother preferred a quieter lifestyle. She explained, "She was very much not one of those ladies who lunch. She could have had a million friends but kept just a couple of very close friends — and that included, of course, Ginny Newhart."
Even though she had a preference for a more low-key lifestyle, Barbara was involved in sharing Don's comedy with the world. She produced Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project, which came out in 2007 and won an Emmy, and the 2020 release Don Rickles Live in Concert. While Don passed away in 2017, Barbara continued to run his Twitter account. The last tweet that the comedian posted prior to his death included a special message to her in honor of their wedding anniversary. He wrote, in March 2017, "We are celebrating our 52nd Wedding Anniversary March 14th. Happy Anniversary my dear wife, Barbara. You are my life. Pussycat (Me)."