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.
- Other famous cartoon voices over the years included Gargamel in "The Smurfs," the mustache-twirling Dick Dastardly of _"Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines" (1969)_ (qv) and Boomer in _The Fox and the Hound (1981)_ (qv).
- 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.
- 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.
- Named television's most versatile performer by Look magazine in 1952 and 1953.
- Skilled voice-over artist for many Disney and Hanna-Barbera films.
- Was the voice for the "scrubbing bubbles" mascot for Dow Bathroom Cleaner, and after Dow sold its consumer products line to S.C. Johnson, the product was renamed to Scrubbing Bubbles.
- He won a $17.8-million jury verdict in his lawsuit against Metromedia Inc. over Metromedia's destruction of the only remaining tapes of his _"Winchell-Mahoney Time" (1965)_ (qv) children's television series. Metromedia, which produced the show from 1964 to 1968, erased the 288 tapes in a dispute with Winchell over the syndication rights.
- Ventriloquist star from 1950s and 1960s television and films.
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