How Much Was Don Rickles Worth When He Passed Away? Not As Much As You May Think

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This afternoon, one of comedy's greatest stars passed away. Don Rickles -- one of history's funniest insult comics -- died from kidney failure at 90 years old.

Given how significant of an effect Don Rickles had on the world of comedy -- and on many comics that followed -- you'd think he would have hundreds of millions of dollars to pass on to his heirs.

But unfortunately, he didn't have that much.

Don Rickles Builds a Comedy Empire

Unlike today's major stars, who become famous overnight, and suddenly have a clothing line, advertising gigs, and a record deal, Don Rickles followed a traditional route to stardom.

Rickles started his comedy career after being in the military, and being unable to get acting work. But it turns out that he wasn't particularly good at comedy, either.

In fact, he got heckled -- a lot -- and that's what made him a star. Rickles wasn't willing to let hecklers ruin his sets. Instead, he started hitting back at them. And the audiences loved it.

From there, Rickles developed his insult-comedy career. And for decades, he was everywhere. TV, movies, stand-up, and of course, roasts.

Unfortunately, with that comedy empire did not come tons of money, according to The Squander.

The publication explains that during Rickles' heyday, celebs didn't get paid the way they do now: "Don Rickles was most popular in the 1950s-1970s, and during that time, the giant 9-figure film and music contracts that are common today were virtually unheard of."

Instead, Don Rickles made more modest amounts of money for his work for much of his career.

And he didn't have the opportunity that young stars have today to branch out into so many other areas. It was only toward the end of his career that Rickles did huge-grossing blockbuster films, like Toy Story.

So what was Don Rickles' net worth when he passed away? The Squander estimates that he had around $30-45 million.

That may sound like a lot but it's a far cry from today's mega-celebs, who are worth hundreds of millions -- even billions -- of dollars.