Jonathan Winters, Comedian and Voice Actor, Dies at 87

Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Jonathan Winters, a comedian known for his stand-up, impressions, and guest starring roles on tons of movies and TV shows (including the final season of Mork & Mindy) died of natural causes on Thursday at his home, the New York Times reports. 

Winters got his start in the ’50s performing comedy routines and his many voices on radio stations in the midwest. He soon moved on to live performances, best-selling comedy albums, and The Tonight Show , which made his character Maude Frickert, a mean old lady, quite famous. He played small roles in scores of movies and was a regular panelist on the original Hollywood Squares. He also did a stint on the long-running Hee-Haw in the ’80s. 

Later in life, Winters had a second career using his incredibly versatile voice in cartoons. He did a guest spot on Scooby-Doo as himself and later did voices for The Smurfs, Pound Puppies, and Animaniacs. Winters was famously institutionalized in the ’50s and urban legend had it that he couldn’t distinguish himself from his many characters. In reality he was diagnosed as bipolar. 

Today we try not to think of that and remember, instead, his hilarious and versatile skills as a comedian. 

Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan

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