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R.I.P. Comedian Jonathan Winters

April 12, 2013  |  1:35pm
R.I.P. Comedian Jonathan Winters

Jonathan Winters—a beloved comedian whose legendary improv skills inspired generations of future comedians such as Robin Williams and Jim Carrey—has passed away at the age of 87, according to USA Today.

Family friend Joe Petro III reported that Winters died of natural causes on Thursday evening at his home in Montecito, Calif.

Winters long and storied comedy career began when he won a talent competition, which led to appearances on radio and comedy clubs.

He soon became a popular guest on the late night circuit, becoming a favorite act of then-Tonight Show host Jack Paar and making subsequent appearances during the Johnny Carson-era. One of his most poular characters was Maude Frickert, an elderly woman with an acerbic wit.

For his contribution to the world of comedy, Winters was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at The Kennedy Center Honors in 2000.

Recently, Winters served as the voice of Papa Smurf in the 2011 live-action version of The Smurfs. He was scheduled to reprise his role in the upcoming sequel.

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