Funny man Jonathan Winters dead at 87

April 12, 2013 at 1:39 PM
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MONTECITO, Calif., April 12 (UPI) -- Comedian Jonathan Winters has died of natural causes at his home in Montecito, Calif., his official website reported. He was 87.

Winters was surrounded by family and friends when he died Thursday, the announcement said.

Winters -- a recipient of the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for Humor in 1999 -- won an Emmy Award in 1991 for his performance in the TV comedy "Davis Rules," and was nominated for an Emmy in 2003 for his performance on the comedy, "Life With Bonnie."

He was a two-time Grammy Award winner -- for "The Little Prince" in 1975 and "Crank Calls" in 1996.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, Nov. 11, 1925, Winters served in the U.S. Marines before returning to Dayton, where he attended Kenyon College and then studied at Dayton Art Institute, his website said. He met his future wife, Eileen, at the institute.

Winters worked as a disc jockey at WING, Dayton, before moving on to WBNS-TV, Columbus. He moved to New York in 1953, where he gained a following with his nightclub performances and eventually appeared on the TV show "Talent Scouts."

Appearances on TV shows including "The Tonight Show" established Winters as a top comedy performer, and later comedians including Robin Williams and Jim Carrey acknowledged his influence on their work.

He starred as Williams' alien son on the TV comedy "Mork & Mindy."

His wife, Eileen Schauder Winters, died in 2009. Winters is survived by two children and five grandchildren, his website said.

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