America has lost another comedy icon of the early days of television, with the passing of Jonathan Winters today at the age of 87 in Montecito, California. Winters was born in Dayton, Ohio on November 11, 1925.
The thing I remember most about Jonathan Winters were the funny faces he could make. He first made a name for himself in stand-up comedy and released 22 comedy albums from 1960-2011.
His first television appearance appearing as someone other than himself was when he appeared, on Omnibus in 1954. He was heard on one old-time radio show Monitor in 1959, before old-time radio died on September 30, 1962.
Winters appeared in It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963. This is physical comedy at its best as Winters levels a service station singlehandedly and he earned $130,000 for his appearance in the movie. :
He later appeared as Mearth on Mork and Mindy television series. His last movie appearance was as Papa on Smurfs 2, which is in post-production. He was to have appeared in Big Finish, but it is in pre-production, so he won’t be seen in that film.
Many of his best known television appearances were Tonight Show, Jack Paar Show and Hollywood Squares.
The world has lost of the best improvisational comics ever. Jonathan Winters will be missed by a legion of fans.