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Jonathan Winters

Dead at 87

4/12/2013 9:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Jonathan Winters
, the comedic film and TV actor who was huge in the '70s and '80s on shows like "Mork and Mindy," has died at age 87 ... TMZ has learned.

Winters died last night of natural causes in Montecito, Calif, around 6:30 p.m., surrounded by friends and family.

Winters' career began when he won a talent contest, which led to radio gigs and appearances at comedy clubs. He was a staple on the late night TV circuit for decades -- he was one of Jack Paar's favorite guests and a Johnny Carson regular -- and recorded several classic comedy albums.

He often performed in character ... the best known of which was Maude Frickert, the seemingly sweet old lady with a quick and acid wit.  He also starred in one of the best comedies ever -- "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."

Winters suffered 2 nervous breakdowns in the late '50s and early '60s and was voluntarily institutionalized.  He was diagnosed with manic depression. He spoke openly about it and even joked about it in his comedy act.

Winters -- who was Native American -- won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which was presented to him at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 2000.



Winters appeared in nearly 50 films and TV shows ... and was a regular on the Saturday morning children's television program "Hot Dog" in the '70s.

He co-starred with Robin Williams as Mearth -- Mork and Mindy's son ... who was hatched from an egg and aged backwards. Think Benjamin Button ... but funny.





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258 COMMENTS

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Previous 15 Comments | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17
241.

Comedian Wes Duncan    

RIP for my favorite comedian that inspired me for more than a half century. He always kept his comedy funny and clean, a rare talent with the "Blue" and "Raw" comedy that will never be "Bleep Free" we have seen over the last 30 years. Heaven is now a funnier place with Jonathan Winters doing stand up for Saint Peter.

557 days ago
242.

Judy    

RIP Jonathan; you gave us many funny moments.

557 days ago
243.

dennis white    

He was around a long time. Every time he would do the Maude Fricket character I would roll in the floor laughing! Some critics called him a "comic genius".{well deserved}

434 days ago
244.

leslie    

I just found out today about Mr. Winters. I will always remember him for two of my favorite comedy movies. The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming and It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Now that he is gone, Mickie Rooney is the only one of the fourteen principals left from that movie. Rest In Peace and thank you for the laughter.

422 days ago
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