Friday, April 12th, 2013

Comedy Legend Jonathan Winters Dies at 87

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.
Albert Brooks
The first time I saw Jonathan Winters perform, I thought I might as well quit the business. Because, I could never be as brilliant.
Dick Van Dyke
Most comedians can point to someone who influenced them. Jonathan Winters was a complete original!!
Dick Van Dyke
No him, no me. No MOST of us, comedy-wise, come to think of it. #RIP Jonathan Winters
Patton Oswalt
Chelsea Peretti
Jonathan Winters RIP Happy to have talked to you. #Genius #TrueOriginal
marc maron
Semper Fidelis and thanks, Jonathan Winters.
Rob Riggle
RIP Jonathan Winters - one the greats. Really. So so funny.
Jim Gaffigan
Jonathan Winters - doing "alternative comedy" 40 years before they had a name for it.
Wayne Federman
RIP Jonathan Winters. Sad day for comedy fans. We were lucky to have had him at all.
Chris Hardwick
RIP Jonathan Winters, thanks for paving the way for weirdness. #COMEDYHERO
Ted Travelstead
One of my favorite xomedians. rip. Jonathan Winters, Funny Man and Comedic Inspiration, Dies at 87 http://t.co/AozN5NNTho
matt walsh
Jonathan Winters basically invented alternative comedy. RIP
Michael Ian Black
I just lost a best friend, Jonathan Winters. He meant the world to me. A genius and the greatest improvisational comedian of all time.
Richard Lewis
Goodbye, Jonathan Winters, and thank you. You taught me that being a weirdo could be a vocation.
Sarah Thyre
R.I.P #JonathonWinters --One of the funniest & most unique to walk the land.
Joel McHale
RIP Jonathan Winters. Very few had or have his genius for making characters as simultaneously hilarious and real. http://t.co/HF9aByhdKw
Will Sasso
I feel very lucky to have had the chance to know the great Jonathan Winters, who was funny from beginning to end
Jimmy Kimmel
hail hail a genius has vacated this realm-Jonathan Winters revolutionary comedian-revolutionary mind. RIP
Roseanne Barr
Jonathan Winters was wildly funny.
Steve Carell
Thank you, Jonathan Winters.
Paul F. Tompkins
Johathan Winters was the comedian's comedian's comedian's Cheif Jetster!
carl reiner
Jonathan Winters was the king -- a true genius. He was number one. There is no number two. #jonathanwinters
Bob Newhart
Jonathan Winters was the worthy custodian of a sparkling and childish comedic genius. He did God's work. I was lucky 2 know him. =;o{|}
Jim Carrey
Goodbye, Jonathon Winters. You were not only one of the greats, but one of the great greats.
Steve Martin


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  • George

    It's funny how so many young comedians are pretending to know who Jonathan Winters is.