Jonathan Winters, Legendary Comedian, Is Dead At 87

The famed improvisational comedian starred in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and several variety shows in the 1960s and ’70s.

Actor-comedian Jonathan Winters as his famed character Maude Frickert. NBC / Getty Images

Jonathan Winters — a legendary comedian best known for his feats of improvisational and sketch comedy — died Thursday at 87, reports The Associated Press and TMZ.

Winters got his start as a local radio personality in Ohio in the 1950s and quickly established himself as a unique comic presence with a puckishly quick wit through a series of comedy albums and TV appearances. Through his career, he landed memorable roles in 1963’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Robin Williams’ ’80s sitcom Mork & Mindy. But it was Winters’ many one-off TV appearances that established his reputation as a comedian’s comedian.

He would often show up on talk and variety shows as beloved characters like the sharp-tongued elderly woman Maude Frickert and Midwestern simpleton Elwood P. Suggins, and his ability to speak off-the-cuff while still in character proved to be a revelation for generations of comedians, including Williams, Jim Carrey, and Mike Myers.

Here’s a clip of Winters roasting Ronald Reagan as Maude Frickert.


Here’s a clip of Winters doing improv with just a pen and pencil set.


Here’s a clip of Winters joking around with Dean Martin as Elwood P. Suggins.


And here is Winters doing a hysterical bit about undressing in front of his dog.

youtube.com / Via Twitter: @kentucker

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