82 (passed away Jun. 24th, 2005)
Dec. 21st, 1922
New York City, New York, USA
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Born Paul Wilchin, on December 21, 1922, the son of Sol and Clara Wilchin, Paul Winchell grew up to be the most beloved ventriloquist of the children of the USA. Ironically, as famous as Paul is, his dummy, Jerry Mahoney, may be even more famous. Not since Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy in the previous two decades had a ventriloquist and his dummy known equal celebrity.
Entering the spotlight on the Edward Bowes _"Original Amateur Hour" (1948)_, he began working soon after in a review show in which Major Bowes would showcase the winners of his radio program. He started his television career on the CBS program "The Bigelow Show" (1948) in 1948; _"What's My Name?" (1950)_ originally called "The Spiedel Show," in 1950; and finally the best known of his shows "Winchell-Mahoney Time" (1965). With a clubhouse premise, his dummies Jerry Mahoney, and Knucklehead Smiff, another of Paul's characters, as the clubhouse leaders and the music of the bandleader Milton Delugg. A new innovation of Paul Winchell was to replace the dummy's hands with those of puppeteers who were hidden behind the dummies in a crate. Winch also played many serous dramatic roles on television without his dummy sidekicks.
What may be even more famous is that he created the voice of Tigger for the Walt Disney Company's "Winnie The Pooh" motion picture series, based on the famous books by A.A. Milne, a role he played behind the scenes until 1999, when he was replaced by Jim Cummings (I), who also played Pooh from the time that Sterling Holloway died. He was also the voice of many other cartoon characters that are famous all over the world.
A little know fact about Winchell is he is one of the original inventors of an artificial heart - years before the first successful transplant with such of a device, an automobile that runs on battery power, a method for breeding tilapia fish, and many other inventions that are still around today.
- Attended Columbia University, then studied and practiced acupuncture and hypnosis, the latter of which he used on his son Stacy when he underwent a tonsillectomy.
- Was extremely shy as a youth and had a stuttering problem. Awed by famed ventriloquist 'Edgar Bergen' (qv) (who became his idol) and his monocled dummy Charlie McCarthy as a youth, Paul learned to throw his own voice and gradually overcame his speech impediment.
- Published the book "Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit" in 1954.
- Second wife, Nina Russel, was an actress. Their child 'April Winchell' (qv) was born in 1960, and has done her father proud by becoming a top-notch vocal artist of her own. She has voiced "Clarabelle Cow", "Baby Herman's Mother", "Peg" in the _"Goof Troop" (1992)_ (qv) series, and "Cruelle De Vil" for Disney; and contributed voices for such TV shows as _"The Simpsons" (1989)_ (qv), and films such as _Men in Black (1997)_ (qv).
- Started his career with a puppet named Terry in 1936 on radio's "Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour," and earned first prize. When Paul was not satisfied with the figure that Frank Marshall had carved for him, It looked like Paul, he created Jerry Mahoney by modifying a stock figure (Noseyboy) from the Frank Marshall's line of dummies. His dim-witted Knucklehead Smiff puppet debuted in 1950 on TV's "The Spiedel Show," which was later renamed "What's My Name?" was a Jerry Mahoney that "Winch" later modified himself.
- Credits his British born third wife Jean who came up with Tigger's signature phrase "TTFN," or "Ta-ta-for now."
- Winchell worked for years developing his ideas on artificial hearts and was mentioned in the news stories about the Utah man who got the first artificial heart and later when the Jarvik heart came to the fore. He hold several patents in artificial organ development.
- Died one day before the death of 'John Fiedler (I)' (qv), who was the voice of Piglet in the animated Winnie the Pooh specials and films.
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