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R.I.P. Jonathan Winters

Categories: Comedians,Latest News
Posted: April 15, 2013

The comedy world lost a legend last week: Jonathan Winters. As this terrific NPR story points out, Winters was hailed a “genius” by Robin Williams (who called Winters his “Comic Buddha”), Steve Martin and many others who were influenced by his amazing work.
Jonathan Winters
Winters illustrious career spanned comedy albums (11 were nominated for Grammys) to his Emmy Award-winning performance in Davis Rules to voicing Papa Smurf in the cartoon hit TV show and film. What Winters will be most remembered for his uncanny mimicry, quick wit and beyond-this-world improvisation skills. For decades, he entertained millions and inspired future comics with his facile impersonations of both famous and regular folks and appearances on late night talk shows. Here’s a lovely example of one of those — his 1986 appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Watch how much Winters cracks Letterman up.

I am also wowed by this clip from The Dean Martin Show. I love the commentary about how Winters and Don Rickles were the only two performers on that show that were never given scripted material. They brought the magic — the spontaneity, the hilarity — on their own. Watching this clip you can see why Winters didn’t need anyone to write for him. From his words to his gesture, eye movements, he delivers comic gold, and he’s a great foil for Dean Martin.

Thank you Mr. Winters for your brilliance and your ability to make us all laugh. You will be missed, but we are forever grateful that we were able to enjoy your work.

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