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Jonathan Winters – Comic Genius Dead at 87

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A true iconoclast and a real original, Jonathan Winters was considered one of the great improv comics of all and was a key inspiration of Jim Carry and Robin Williams, among others. His more famous films included IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD, VIVA MAX, and THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING. He was the master of ad lib. His ‘The Jonathan Winters Show’ was just him and a few props, no script. He also delivered an admirable dramatic performance as ‘fats’ Brown  in The Twilight Zone episode “A GAME OF POOL”, in which he co-stars with Jack Klugman. Winters recorded ten Grammy-nominated comedy albums, winning once, and he won an Emmy for best-supporting actor playing Randy Quaid’s father in the 1991 sitcom “Davis Rules”. Jonathan Winters died today at age 87 of natural causes.

In July, WAMG’s Michelle McCue attended a special screening of IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD in Los Angeles and took this photo of Winters and several of that film’s surviving cast members.

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From The Associated Press:

Jonathan Winters, the cherub-faced comedian whose breakneck improvisations and misfit characters inspired the likes of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, has died. He was 87.

The Ohio native died Thursday evening at his Montecito, Calif., home of natural causes, said Joe Petro III, a longtime friend. He was surrounded by family and friends.

“He was just a great friend and I was very lucky to be able to work with him for all the years I did,” said Petro, an artist and printmaker who collaborated with Winters for decades on numerous art projects. “We’ve lost a giant and we’re really going to miss him.”…..

Read the rest HERE

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBIT_WINTERS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-04-12-12-56-55

And enjoy this vintage footage of  Jonathan Winters improvising with a pen and pencil set

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