Comedian Jonathan Winters, famous for characters such as Maude Frickert and the Orkan ‘child’ Mearth on TV show Mork & Mindy, has died at the age of 87.
According to the improv comic’s website, Winters died of natural causes at his home in Montecito, California on Thursday, April 11, surrounded by family and friends.
Winters grew up in Ohio, and dropped out of high school to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. After the war, he attended college and studied cartooning. He later became a radio DJ, where he began honing his improv comedy skills. He began recording comedy albums and quickly gained a following for creating wacky characters.
Winters soon became a screen comedian, appearing in over 40 movies and appearing on countless TV shows. His movie appearances included roles in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming. Winters also appeared regularly on many TV shows throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, including The Dean Martin Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and The Hollywood Squares.
Winters continued performing throughout his life. Most recently, Winters voiced the character Papa Smurf in the 2011 and 2013 Smurfs movie adaptations, and was cast in the 2014 comedy Big Finish, which is also rumored to star Don Rickles, Jerry Lewis, and Bob Newhart.