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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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61.

Helen English    

I remember him on many shows. He truly was a great

470 days ago
62.

Gordon    

A little bit of brightness has gone out of the world.

470 days ago
63.

k    

RIP Mr. Winters -- you truly were ahead of the times!!!!

470 days ago
64.

MeMe    

Such a talent, I thought how stupid having a grown man play a child on Mork and Mindy. So I wouldn't watch it. Well silly me I started watching the reruns laughed so hard and never missed one. We have lost another great one. We have lost to many and today there aren't any to take their place, A real endangered species.

470 days ago
65.

JIMMY    

it's a sad ,sad,sad,sad day. RIP

470 days ago
66.

Judy    

Rest in Peace....you gave so many a reason to laugh on earth....now you are entertaining all your brothers and sisters in Heaven.

470 days ago
67.

RON    

HE WAS ONE FUNNY GUY! MADE MANY PEOPLE LAUGH. GOD REST HIS SOUL!

470 days ago
68.

Judy    

Rest in Peace....you gave so many a reason to laugh on earth....now you are entertaining all your brothers and sisters in Heaven.

470 days ago
69.

BILLTATE    

I literally LOVED this man byeJOHN

470 days ago
70.

capt_carl    

If I remember right and sometimes I kind of don't get it right. Back in the daymaybe late 60's early70's JW had a brake down while he was on a ship. And I think he went to the top of the ship eather pole or smoke stack. But he was so cool not many new that he was really in trouble. I loved that guy. I can just see it now a sigh at the pearly gates staring indefinately(forgive my spellig) (Maude Frickert) aka JW. Way is it every time we lose a good person we all seem to lose some of our self?

470 days ago
71.

Laura    

Loved his humor--a real classic comedian. Rest in Peace--you've earned it.

470 days ago
72.

Chuck D of Valpo    

RIP Johnathan Winters. I believe when he was a young man, his family tried to have him committed. They did not know what to make of him. But he convinced the psychiatrist that it was just his way of being funny. He was one of the best. If laughter is the best medicine then he was a Doctor.

470 days ago
73.

stefan mosby    

I was lucky to have met him on the streets of Santa Barbara. We talked for a bit and later met several times more. A great and funny man with a heart of gold, RIP

470 days ago
74.

David Schumacher    

Simply the funniest man in the world.

RIP Maude, Elwood, Scratchy.

470 days ago
75.

USA#1    

R.I.P. To one of the funniest men to ever live on this planet.

470 days ago
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