Jonathan Winters Dies at 87

April 12, 2013


Jonathan Winters, the hammy comedian and actor who won Emmy and was nominated for a Golden Globe, has died following doing Smurfs 2. He was 87.

The comic's website says Winters died of natural causes Thursday evening in his Montecito, California home.

Winters got his start honing his improv and comic jowls doing stand-up and radio shows, first in Dayton, Ohio before finally making a move to New York. There, he brought his comedy and characters to the talk show circuit, guesting consistently on The Steve Allen Show and through two host eras of The Tonight Show. His appearances eventually earned him work in TV and film, famously in 1963's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

In television, he was most notably brought on in a last-ditch effort to save Mork & Mindy. Struggling with but one comedian doing an eccentric character and voices, the show brought in Winters to play son to Robin Williams--which worked because of alien DNA, and it was the '80s. He mostly did voice work and TV movies through the rest of that decade, but in the early '90s again found success on the small screen with Davis Rules, the Randy Quaid sitcom that earned Winters an Emmy in the role of wacky father. Most recently, he twice reprised the Papa Smurf voice he first performed in the late '80s Smurfs animated series, and his final film role will be The Smurfs 2. But at least his voice got to finally see Europe.

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