Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jonathan Winters Dead at 87

Image from source, Washington Post
Part of getting older is seeing the icons of your youth pass away. And there have been plenty. But Jonathan Winters--much like the recently passed Phyllis Diller--were really the icons of my parents' youth. It's always sad when someone you like passes, but it's also nice to see them make it to a ripe old age.

Jonathan Winters was one of those comics who stood out from the rest, with a much looser, loopier, more improvisational style from most comics. He did have regular characters like the best known being a little old lady named Maude Frickert. But even they were mostly improvised, often with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. As a kid, I remember him mostly for his variety show appearances (which were many), the boozy Dean Martin Roasts and later as Mearth, the adult baby on Mork & Mindy. He came to be on that show in its last year because he was star Robin Williams' comedy hero. [Story continues below]

In reading up to write this post, I happened upon a couple of things I didn't know. For one, Winters was born in Dayton, Ohio and spent his early career around Ohio, notably a run on WBNS-TV in Columbus, my home town. And the other thing? Well, as I indicated at the beginning, Winters is one of the stars of bygone years. To many of us, he's one of those guys who have just always been "old." But you know how old he was when he played Mearth, who was born an old man? 56. Not so old. I'm glad he got 30 more years. RIP, Mr. Winters!


Jonathan Winters, comedian behind memorable characters for late-night TV

Jonathan Winters, the rotund, rubber-faced, squinty-eyed master of impressions and improvisational comedy who became a staple of late-night television for decades and was a mentor to Robin Williams and an inspiration for performers as varied as Steve Martin, Jim Carrey and Jimmy Kimmel, died April 11 at his home in Montecito, Calif. He was 87. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

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