Filed Under:

Funny Man Jonathan Winters Dies

Play associated audio

Jonathan Winters, known to one generation for his 1960s comedy albums, frequent Tonight Show with Johnny Carson appearances and comic movie characters, and to another generation as Robin Williams' baby on Mork & Mindy, has died. The news is coming from The Associated Press, TMZ, the NPR Arts Desk and other news outlets.

Winters was 87. TMZ says he died Thursday night "of natural causes in Montecito, Calif. ... surrounded by friends and family.

In 2011, Winters looked back on his lifetime of laughs for Weekend Edition Saturday. He told the show that he didn't tell jokes:

"I have always classified [myself] as an actor/comedian, a humorist. ... I started out as an artist and what I do is verbal paintings. I paint a picture. Hopefully you'll see the characters and what they're doing and what they're saying."

His recent work included being the voice of Papa Smurf in 2011's The Smurfs. Winters' IMDB bio is here.

Winters was the second person honored (in 1999) with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. His bio page on The Kennedy Center website says:

"In 1953, Jonathan headed for New York for the ;big time' with $56.46 in his pocket. As a performer at Manhattan's Blue Angel nightclub, his reputation as a comic began to grow. Gary Moore, who was substituting for Arthur Godfrey on the TV Show ,Talent Scouts, presented Jonathan on the show. Then came the Jack Paar Show, The Steve Allen Show, and The Tonight Show, where Jonathan was able to demonstrate his comic genius and he became a top name in American Comedy."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

So This Is How They Do It! Zebras Getting Stripes

The pink on a flamingo? Stripes on a zebra? Spots on a giraffe? All explained. Simply. Elegantly. Oddly.
NPR

Can Wal-Mart Really Make Organic Food Cheap For Everyone?

The giant retailer says it's adding a new line of organic food that's at least 25 percent cheaper. But a large-scale production and supply of organic food likely can't be achieved overnight.
NPR

Obama Adds Malaysia To His Asia Itinerary

Obama travels to Malaysia next week, where the government is under fire for the handling of a missing airliner. NPR's Wade Goodwyn talks to Joshua Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations.
NPR

Watch For The Blind Lets You Feel Time Passing

A new watch allows the blind to feel time on their wrists. Designer Hyungsoo Kim tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn his watch allows users to tell time accurately without revealing their disabilities.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.