Comedian Jonathan Winters Dies at 87
Jonathan Winters | Photo Credits: Charley Gallay/Getty Images
Jonathan Winters, the actor and comedian best known for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Mork & Mindy, has died. He was 87.
Winters died Thursday of natural causes in his Montecito, Calif., home at 6:45 p.m., according to his official website.
Winters was a popular comedic film and TV actor in the '70s and '80s, but was most famous for his groundbreaking improv work and mimicry skills that inspired such stars as Jim Carrey and Robin Williams, his co-star on Mork & Mindy.
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After winning a talent contest, Winters began a career as a radio DJ before becoming a staple on late-night TV, making frequent appearances on The Tonight Show when it was hosted by Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. He even landed his own show The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters, which ran from 1972-74. In 1981, he joined the final season of Mork & Mindy, playing Williams' extraterrestrial son, Mearth.
In addition to his work on television, Winters had notable film roles as an over-the-top furniture mover in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and as the embalmer Mr. Joyboy in the black comedy The Loved One.
More recently, he voiced Papa Smurf in The Smurfs and its upcoming sequel.
His wife of 60 years, Eileen, passed away in 2009 after a 20-year battle with breast cancer. He is survived by two children and five grandchildren.