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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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1.

namers    

Rest in Peace, funny man.

522 days ago
2.

WTF    

He was so funny. A rare talent. He could improvise and make it look so easy. RIP Jonathan

522 days ago
3.

dreamon    

RIP.
.
This guy is a giant in comedy. A giant.

522 days ago
4.

nonexample    

Oh wow, sorry to hear it, but glad it was peaceful. He was a pal of and mentor to Robin Williams. Had a chance to meet him once....what a gentle person and shy guy. Very sweey. Wow. Rip.

522 days ago
5.

StarryStarryNight    

bless his soul! he was sooo funny!

522 days ago
6.

Marilyn    

Funny is the highest level in the universe & he was funny.

522 days ago
7.

elysummers    

There's number three. So sad, such a wonderful talented man. RIP

522 days ago
8.

msbearlyhugs    

He was so funny and I bet heaven is roaring with laughter up there. RIP Mr.Winters you earned it.

522 days ago
9.

Texas Gal    

R.I.P. Jonathan, thanks for the laughs and all those wonderful memories. He was truly the king of improv and a mentor to Robin Williams, big time! Jonathan and Red Skelton could improvise like crazy and crack me up every time :-)

522 days ago
10.

Wow ...    

He certainly made me laugh countless times! May he rest in peace. Condolences to all family, friends and fans.

522 days ago
11.

Criss    

Why is it always in threes?
Annette Funicello, Margret Thatcher and now him!

522 days ago
12.

Reed    

Thanks for all the laughs, rest in peace.

522 days ago
13.

Mike    

Perhaps the quickest comedic mind ever.

522 days ago
14.

A Z    

I ran into him once at a supermarket. He was such a warm and very funny person. It felt like he was a very funny family member and I've never met him before in person. May he rest in peace with many laughs.

522 days ago
15.

wow    

something tells me that Robin williams will say something great .... since he knew of how the man struggled with life at times... i pray now that he no longer has any issues and he can be as funny as he wants..

522 days ago
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

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