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.
- 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.
- Held patents on over 30 devices, a flameless cigarette lighter, an invisible garter belt, a method of breeding Tilapia fish so that poorer countries could feed their citizens, and an indicator to show when frozen food had gone bad after a power outage. As for his major achievement, the artificial heart, which he built in 1963, was donated to the University of Utah for research. The first implant on a human happened in 1982.Paul Winchell invented the disposable razor which he neglected to get a patent on. when friends told him "Who would buy a razor just to throw it away?" Paul abandoned the idea, later to Winch's dismay, a major razor company proved Paul was right!
- Ventriloquist star from 1950s and 1960s television and films.
- 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.
- His puppet side-kicks, Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff, are now in the Smithsonian Institution.
- Earned a 1974 Grammy award for Best Children's Recording with "The Most Wonderful Things About Tiggers" from the feature _Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974)_ (qv). He was also nominated for an Annie award for the animated feature _Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (1997)_.
- 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.
- Named television's most versatile performer by Look magazine in 1952 and 1953.
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