Jonathan Winters reported dead

Jonathan Winters reported dead

Jonathan Winters was one of a kind…or perhaps, kind of one hundred.

By that I mean that the improv comic had the ability to switch into many different characters at the drop of a hat…and then become the hat as well.


Variety article

does a good job of covering the basics, and includes some video clips. I’d recommend the Jack Paar clip, to see the early Winters…although he oddly does talk about dying in it.

I first think of Jonathan Winters from comedy albums, but also from live TV performances.

There’s no question that we wouldn’t have had Robin Williams without Jonathan Winters…and one of the things I like most about Williams was his support of Winters. Not just in having him on Mork & Mindy (which is how a lot of these obits are being headlined), but I recall some sort of news or magazine show where they did a profile together. Robin Williams was completely showcasing Jonathan Winters in a very generous way.

While movies were not the largest part of his career, they do form part of his geek-friendly credits:

  • The Magic Land of Alakazam (this was a 1960 Japanese animated movie, and they did an American dub with Frankie Avalon, Sterling Holloway, and Jonathan Winters)
  • Shirley Temple’s Storybook (Winters appeared in both The Land of Oz and Babes in Toyland)
  • The Twilight Zone (Winters had a rare dramatic turn portraying a dead pool player…the ep also starred Jack Klugman)
  • It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
  • Linus! The Lion Hearted
  • Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad (quite a bizarre movie…)
  • Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (an animated sitcom…Winters voiced his Maude Frickert character)
  • Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (he played a talking pumpkin)
  • The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh
  • I Go Pogo
  • More Wild Wild West (a follow-on TV movie from 1980)
  • Mork & Mindy (as Robin Williams’ Mork’s son…they age backwards on Ork)
  • Star Fairies
  • The Pound Puppies
  • Alice in Wonderland (as Humpty Dumpty in an all-star TV version…other stars included Donald O’Connor, Sherman Helmsley, Martha Raye, and Carol Channing)
  • The Smurfs (the TV series…Grandpa Smurf in the American version)
  • Alice in Wonderland (unlike the last one, this one was animated…but all-star again. Would you believe Mr. T as the  Jabberwock?)
  • The Muppet Show
  • The Little Troll Prince
  • The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley
  • Rabbit Ears: Paul Bunyan
  • Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures (cartoon spin-off)
  • Gravedale High (as Coach Cadaver)
  • Garfield and Friends
  • King Kong! The Living Legend
  • Tiny Toon Adventures
  • Little Dracula
  • The Wish That Changed Christmas
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation (as Superman…and Wade Pig)
  • Fish Police (as Mayor Cod)
  • Frosty Returns
  • The Princess and the Cobbler
  • Animaniacs
  • Yogi the Easter Bear
  • The Flintstones (the live-action movie with John Goodman)
  • The Shadow (Alec Baldwin)
  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
  • The Bears Who Saved Christmas
  • Spaced out! (Winters stars, and it includes a visit to the bridge of the Enterprise in a Star Trek bit)
  • The Mouse Factory
  • Daisy-Head Mayze
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers
  • Johnny Bravo
  • Santa vs. the Snowman (as Santa)
  • The New Scooby Doo Movies (in The Frickert Fracas)
  • Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big (directed by Berkeley Breathed of Bloom County fame, and co-starring John Cleese, Harry Shearer, and Catherine O’Hara, among others)
  • The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (the live action movie with Robert De Niro and Jason Alexander…no, no, they didn’t play “Moose and Squirrel”) 😉
  • Swing
  • Squatching (as himself, in a Bigfoot documentary with Loren Coleman)
  • Comic Book: The Movie
  • The Smurfs (the Neil Patrick Harris movie…playing Papa Smurf)
  • The Smurfs 2 (I think his role was probably completed)
  • Big Finish (a comedy movie with Jerry Lewis, Bob Newhart, Don Rickles, Tim Conway..scheduled for release December 12 of 2014)

Good-bye, Jonathan Winters…the world is less wacky (and daring and clever and funny and yes, sweet…and full) without you.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.


One Response to “Jonathan Winters reported dead”

  1. Western Reader Says:

    I have fond memories of Mr. Winters. He made me laugh when things seemed gloomy. I remember especially when, as Maude Frikert, he would say to Johnny Carson, “Don’t touch me unless you mean it, Johnny!” And that never failed to make Carson completely break up. Winters’ Paar and Carson heydays were the best.

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