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DON RICKLES (Mr. Potato Head¨) is back in fine form lending his inimitable voice to this crusty character. This starchy spud can get a little hot under the collar at times but he's also willing to lend a hand to a pal (as long as he gets it back) when the chips are down. Married life has domesticated him a bit, but he's still quick with a quip.

"When John Lasseter came to my home in Malibu to tell me about the first 'Toy Story,' recalls the comedian, "he said we'd like to test your voice for an animated feature we're doing. So he said, 'You'll play a toy, a Mr. Potato Head¨.' And I said, 'Go away! I've worked my whole life to try to be a success. I don't need to be a toy.' He said, 'No, no this is going to be big. We're doing it in a new way.' I said, 'Go back and play with your duck or something. Stay out of my life.' And then he really showed me what they were going to do and I was very very inspired by his attitude and delighted with the way it came out."

Rickles was excited about doing the sequel, "especially when they called me about the check. I wanted money and Michael Eisner wanted to give me another little Potato Head¨ for a salary. It wound up that I'm doing it because he promised me a chance to go to Disneyland with the family and go on all the rides for free.

"But seriously," confesses Rickles, "I enjoy doing the voice. They make it fun and they give you a lovely lunch. You really have to push your voice out there so that the expressions will explain the character. Basically the character provides the motivation of the story. I said that once to Robert DeNiro and he's still walking around mumbling. John Lasseter and the co-directors really seem to know how it's going to come across."

For more than 35 years, funnyman Rickles has appeared in the top showrooms in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. He did not reach the top overnight, rather, like a train gathering steam, he gradually picked up speed and more material for his comedy act. But his appearance on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" in 1965 stands out as the moment of his breakthrough. Immediately following his performance on the "Tonight Show," Rickles became the talk of the town. A fine actor who graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Rickles frequently received rave reviews for his acting ability. Armed with the public's seal of approval as a comedian, it was only natural that he should move forward into theater and television.

He scored a major success when he appeared on "The Dean Martin Show." He has since starred in primetime series on all four major networks. A highlight of his career came when he was invited by President Reagan to perform at the televised Inaugural Gala where he "zinged" the nation's dignitaries gathered for the occasion.

Still highly visible in television and motion pictures, Rickles had one of his best dramatic roles in Universal Pictures' "Casino," directed by Martin Scorsese. Most recently, he lent his vocal talents to the character Cornwall in the animated feature "Quest for Camelot."

One of his proudest moments was the dedication of the Barbara and Don Rickles Gymnasium at Sinai Temple in West Los Angeles. He enjoys a good game of golf, and an occasional set of tennis. He has also been voted among the nation's best-dressed men by the Custom Tailors Guild of America, and the Tailors Council of America.

He and his wife


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