Legendary comedian and actor Jonathan Winters passed away of natural causes Thursday evening at his Montecito, California home. He was surrounded by family and friends. Close friend and business associate Joe Petro III confirmed Winters’ death. He was 87-years-old.
A post on Winters’ official website says: “Rest in Peace, Mr. Winters.”
Winters got his start on radio and in comedy clubs, and he eventually made comedy albums. He was known for his improv work and for being able to create memorable characters. His most popular character is likely Maude Frickert, a quick-witted old lady. Winters appeared on numerous TV shows, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Dean Martin Show and The Dean Martin Celebrity Road. He also had parts on Hot Dog, Mork & Mindy and Hee Haw. Winters’ film credits include The Loves One, Viva Max! and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. He voiced the character of Papa Smurf in the 2011 film The Smurfs, and can be heard again as Papa Smurf when The Smurfs 2 is released in July.
Winters is survived by two children and five grandchildren. His wife of over 60 years, Eileen, died in January 2009.