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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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76.

theo    

Another fine Marine goes to his final reward.

Semper fi
Marine

528 days ago
77.

Cricket    

One of the best. Very sad news. He will be missed. R.I.P.

528 days ago
78.

D Byron    

Too soon.

He never missed.

I smile just thinking about his work.

Great man.

528 days ago
79.

nevermore    

Keep Heaven in stitches...

528 days ago
80.

Will Reagan    

Johnathan Winters was the God Father to Sherry Brand, the CopperTone Baby...

528 days ago
81.

John    

Another true legend gone. RIP This man could teach the comedians of today a thing or two...

528 days ago
82.

suzy turner    

Gosh... Mork and Mindy. That video certainly takes me back. That was such a fun show. So sad that Jonathan is no longer with us :(

528 days ago
83.

Sashatree    

When comedians were actually funny and talented without cursing. A genius if ever there was one. He is Robin Williams' inspiration and it's easy to see Mr. Winters' influence on him. RIP you wonderful, funny, talented, generous, sensitive and humane spirit -- Thank you for leaving us so many wonderful hours of film of you to keep those laughs coming for generations.

528 days ago
84.

JimmyB    

"Huge in the 70's and 80's".

That's what happens when you have young morons working at TMZ instead of adults capable of at least doing a little research. Pathetic.

528 days ago
85.

Cindy    

For the youngsters who don't know Jonathan Winters, he was one of the truly great comedians. Go to YouTube and watch the Dean Martin Roasts with Jonathan. He is/was hilarious.

528 days ago
86.

Cool Breeze    

He was a great comedian. RIP.

528 days ago
87.

Nan    

He was an amazing talent...very funny! He will be missed. He will be up there with the rest of the old timers! We have loss a lot of people in recent years that brought us so much entertainment and enjoyment.

528 days ago
88.

MimiDunn    

The funniest man who ever entertained-there will never be a true replacement. His humor was funny to the core. I am blessed to have been part of his laughs. See ya there Johnathan-I know you will be in Heaven.

528 days ago
89.

LynnW    

RIP. This was the funniest man of all time. He also was an excellent actor. I don't know how many times I would literally be rolling around on the floor dying laughing when he would just take over as a guest on the Jack Paar show. His comedy talent was well beyond anyone else. God be with him, and I for one, am thankful for the great many times he made me laugh, and made me forget about the troubles of the day.

528 days ago
90.

Chuckster    

One of the funniest guys ever. His genius will be sorely missed. RIP Johnathan.

528 days ago
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