87 (passed away Apr. 11th, 2013)
Nov. 11th, 1925
Dayton, Ohio, USA
Jonathan Winters' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Jonathan Harshman Winters III (November 11, 1925 – April 11, 2013) was an American comedian, actor, author, and artist. Beginning in 1960, Winters recorded many classic comedy albums for the Verve Records label. He also had records released every decade for over 50 years, receiving 11 nominations for Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album during his career and winning a Grammy Award for Best Album for Children for his contribution to an adaptation of The Little Prince in 1975 and the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy Album for Crank(y) Calls in 1996.
With a career spanning more than six decades, Winters also appeared in hundreds of television show episodes/series and films combined, including eccentric characters on The Steve Allen Show, The Garry Moore Show, The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters (1972–74), Mork & Mindy, Hee Haw, and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. He also voiced Grandpa Smurf on The Smurfs TV series (1986–89) and Papa Smurf in The Smurfs (2011). Winters' final feature film was The Smurfs 2 in 2013, which is dedicated in his memory.
In 1991, Winters earned an Emmy Award for his supporting role in Davis Rules. In 1999, Winters was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. In 2002, he earned an Emmy nomination as a guest star in a comedy series for Life with Bonnie. In 2008, Winters was presented with a Pioneer TV Land Award by 'Robin Williams'.
Winters also spent time painting and presenting his artwork, including silkscreens and sketches, in many gallery shows. He authored several books. His book of short stories, titled Winters' Tales (1988), made the bestseller lists.
Winters' father, also Jonathan, was a banker who became an alcoholic after being crushed in the Great Depression. His parents divorced in 1932. Jonathan and his mother then moved to Springfield to live with his grandmother. There his mother remarried and became a radio personality. Winters joined the Marines during his senior year of high school. Upon his discharge, he entered Kenyon College & later transferred to Dayton Art Institute. He met his wife, Eileen Schauder, in 1948 and married a month later. They remain married today. They have a son, Jay, who is a contractor, and a daughter, Lucinda, who is a talent scout for movies.
Winters got his start in show business by winning a talent contest. This led to a children's TV show in Dayton in 1950. He also then got a game show and a talk show. Denied a requested raise, he & his wife moved to New York with only $56 in their pocket. Two months later, he was getting night club bookings.
Winters suffered nervous breakdowns in 1959 and 1961. He made 10 comedy recordings for which he was nominated for the Grammy 10 times and won once.
Winters died of natural causes on the evening of (April 11, 2013) in Montecito, California at the age of 87. He was survived by his two children, Jay Winters and Lucinda Winters, and five grandchildren.
Fans of Winters placed flowers on his Hollywood Walk of Fame star on April 12, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.
Many comedians, actors, and friends gave personal tributes about Winters on social media shortly after his death. 'Robin Williams' posted, "First he was my idol, then he was my mentor and amazing friend. I'll miss him huge. He was my Comedy Buddha. Long live the Buddha". In September 2013, at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, Williams would again honor the career and life of Winters.
- Has painted a series of abstractionist artwork which was collected into a book titled "Hang Ups".
- Father of 'Jay Winters' (qv) and 'Lucinda Winters' (qv).
- According to the book "Tomorrow I Die", Winters appeared in the short film "Screen Test of Mike Hammer" as a wino. This short film also featured 'Jack Stang' (qv) and 'Bettye Ackerman' (qv). Stills are found in the aforementioned book.
- Was voluntarily institutionalized twice in his life (and even made light of it in his stand-up comic act).
- An accomplished abstract painter.
- Mr. Winters made his semi-annual visit to the "Hollywood Collectors & Celebrities Show" for an autograph session and to meet his fans.
- Served in the Marines during World War II.
- Considered by many to be one of the finest improvisational comics ever.
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