Beloved comedian Jonathan Winters has passed away at the age of 87. TMZ reports that Winters died in Montecito, California, yesterday evening, surrounded by friends and family. Winters, renowned for his stand-up act that showcased his brilliant, rapid-fire improvisational abilities and knack for character work, inspired a ton of comedians who followed in his footsteps, including Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Johnny Carson, Lily Tomlin, Andy Kaufman, Amy Sedaris, and countless others. In addition to releasing a string of popular albums, two of which won him Grammys, the late comedian had an impressive resume of movie and TV credits. Although he amassed hundreds of TV and movie credits, Winters is perhaps best known onscreen for his roles in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, The Loved One, and Mork & Mindy, where he played Robin Williams's character's backwards-aging infant son who hatched out of an egg. When presenting Jonathan Winters with a lifetime achievement award a few years ago, Williams recalled, "Once upon a time, I called Jonathan my mentor. He immediately corrected me. 'Please,' he told me. 'I prefer idol.' Jonathan Winters is my idol, and he's a true pioneer."
See below for an eclectic collection of comedians saying goodbye to Winters via Twitter and for video of Winters's appearance on Late Night with David Letterman in 1986. This is a huge loss to the comedy community and the world as a whole. He will be missed.
R.I.P Jonathan Winters. Beyond funny, He invented a new category of comedic genius.
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