Jonathan Winters

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6 years 10 months ago #1 by riada
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Jonathan Harshman Winters III (November 11, 1925 – April 11, 2013) was an American comedian, actor, author and artist.

Beginning in 1960, Winters recorded many classic comedy albums for the Verve Records label. He also had records released every decade for over 50 years, receiving 11 nominations for Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album during his career and winning a Grammy Award for Best Album for Children for his contribution to an adaptation of The Little Prince in 1976 and the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy Album for Crank(y) Calls in 1996.

With a career spanning more than six decades, Winters appeared in hundreds of television show episodes/series and films combined, including eccentric characters on The Steve Allen Show, The Garry Moore Show, The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters (1972–74), Mork & Mindy, Hee Haw and in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

After voicing Grandpa Smurf on The Smurfs (1986–89) and Papa Smurf in The Smurfs (2011 film), Winters's final feature film was The Smurfs 2 in 2013, which will be dedicated in his memory.

A pioneer of improvisational stand-up comedy with a gift for mimicry, impersonations, various personalities and a seemingly bottomless reservoir of creative energy, Winters was one of the first celebrities to go public with a personal mental illness issue and felt stigmatized as a result. According to Jack Paar, "If you were to ask me the funniest 25 people I've ever known, I'd say, 'Here they are — Jonathan Winters'." He also said of Winters, "Pound for pound, the funniest man alive".

In 1991, Winters earned an Emmy Award for his supporting role in Davis Rules. In 1999, Winters was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. In 2002, he earned an Emmy nomination as a guest star in a comedy series for Life With Bonnie. In 2008, Winters was presented with a Pioneer TV Land Award by Robin Williams.

Winters also spent time painting and presenting his artwork, including silkscreens and sketches, in many gallery shows. Additionally, he authored several books. His book of short stories, titled Winters' Tales (1988), made the bestseller lists

Jonathan Winters was a guest star on The Muppet Show in 1980. That same year, he also appeared in I Go Pogo (aka Pogo for President). In 1981, he was a guest on the short-lived comedy series Aloha Paradise.

In the fourth and final season of the sci-fi-styled TV comedy Mork & Mindy, Jonathan Winters (one of Robin Williams' idols) was brought in as Mork & Mindy's child, Mearth. Due to the different Orkan physiology, Mork laid an egg, which grew and hatched into the much older Winters. It had been previously explained that Orkans aged "backwards", thus explaining Mearth's appearance and that of his teacher, Miss Geezba (portrayed by then-11-year-old actress Louanne Sirota). Mork's infant son Mearth in Mork & Mindy was created in hopes of improving ratings and as an attempt to capitalize on Williams' comedic talents. Winters had previously guest-starred in Season 3, Episode 18 as Dave McConnell, Mindy's uncle. However, after multiple scheduling and cast changes, Mork & Mindy's 4th season was already quite low in the ratings and ended up being the show's last season.
Winters performing at a USO show in 1986

Winters became a regular on Hee Haw during the 1983–84 season. He was later the voice of Grandpa Smurf from 1986–90 on the television series The Smurfs. Additionally, he did the voice of Bigelow in the 1985 TV film Pound Puppies, and voice-acted on Yogi's Treasure Hunt in 1985, among other voice roles throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1987, Winters was featured in NFL Films' The NFL TV Follies. That same year he published Winters' Tales: Stories and Observations for the Unusual.

In 1991 and 1992, he had a supporting role on Davis Rules, a sitcom that lasted two seasons (25 episodes), for which he won an Emmy Award. He played Gunny Davis, an eccentric grandfather who was helping raise his grandchildren after his son lost his wife.

In addition to his live action roles, he was also a guest star on The New Scooby-Doo Movies (in an episode where he also voiced an animated version of his "Maude Frickert" character) and as the narrator in Frosty Returns which airs annually during the Christmas season. Winters also provided the voice for the thief in Arabian Knight.

In 1994, Winters appeared in a cameo as a fired factory worker in The Flintstones. In an interesting role reversal, he was the serious-minded secular police chief and uncle of the character Lamont Cranston (played by Alec Baldwin) in The Shadow. That same year he voiced Stinkbomb D. Basset in the episode "Smell Ya Later" on Animaniacs.

Winters received 11 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album nominations during his career, and won the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy Album for Crank(y) Calls in 1996.

In 1996, Winters played himself in Bloopy's Buddies, a children's TV series on PBS designed to teach children about health and nutrition and to encourage them to exercise.

In 1999, Winters was awarded the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, becoming the second recipient.

Winters had various roles and appeared in numerous television features throughout the early-to-mid 2000

In 2000, Winters appeared in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. In 2003, he appeared in the film Swing.

In 2004, Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time ranked Winters as the #18 greatest stand-up comedian

In 2005 and 2006, Winters appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live

In 2008, Winters was presented with a Pioneer TV Land Award by Robin Williams. That same year, PBS aired Pioneers of Television and Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America in 2009 both featuring Winters

Winters provided the voice of Papa Smurf in the live-action Smurfs movie, released in 2011, and reprised the role in the 2013 release of The Smurfs 2 (his final voice acting project)

Winters was originally cast in Big Finish (2014), during pre-production. It's an upcoming comedy set in a retirement home. His scheduled role was to appear alongside Jerry Lewis and Bob Newhart

On January 11, 2009, Winters' wife of more than 60 years, Eileen, died at the age of 84 after a 20-year battle with breast cancer

At the age of 87, Winters died of natural causes on April 11, 2013 in Montecito, California (surrounded by family and friends) He is survived by his two children Jay and Lucinda Winters and five grandchildren


Nor but in sleep findeth a cure for care.
Incertainty that once gave scope to dream
Of laughing enterprise and glory untold,
Is now a blackness that no stars redeem.

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