Montecito, California—Legendary comedian and WWII veteran Jonathan Winters passed away yesterday in his Montecito home. He was 87. Winters was born November 11, 1925, in Dayton, Ohio.
Jonathan was a favorite on the talk show circuit and a regular on the Dean Martin Roast series. He had his own variety show on separate occasions. Although he had several characters he played, such as Aunt Maude, he is also noted for his impromptu work with props handed to him. At the end of his variety shows, Winters would be handed a stack of cards with situations which the audience had written down. He would act out the situation on the card. He was probably the first “mad libber” in the business.
Although he always seemed to wear a smile, in 1961 he suffered a breakdown and was diagnosed as bipolar. Upon his release on April Fools day in 1962, he was immediately cast in the movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” He also played some dramatic roles; most notably his role as Minnesota Fats opposite the late Jack Klugman on the Twilight Zone.
Winters was also an artist and author.