Today on “Days to Remember” we celebrate Jonathon Winters Birthday!
Winters was born in Bellbrook, Ohio, on November 11th 1925, to Alice Kilgore Rodgers, who later became a radio personality, and her husband Jonathan Harshman Winters II, an insurance agent investment broker.
He was a descendant of Valentine Winters, founder of the Winters National Bank in Dayton, Ohio (now part of JPMorgan Chase). Of English and Scotch-Irish ancestry, Winter’s had described his father as an alcoholic who had trouble holding a job. His grandfather, a frustrated comedian, owned the Winters National Bank, which failed as the family’s fortunes collapsed during the Great Depression.
Winters’ career started as a result of a lost wristwatch, about six or seven months after his marriage to Eileen in 1948. The newlyweds couldn’t afford to buy another one.
Then Eileen read about a talent contest in which the first prize was a wristwatch, and encouraged Jonathan to “go down and win it.”
She was certain he could, and he did. His performance led to a disc jockey job, where he was supposed to introduce songs and announce the temperature. Gradually his ad libs, personae, and antics took over the show.
In his interview with the Archive of American Television, Winters reported that he spent eight months in a private psychiatric hospital in 1959 and again in 1961. The comic suffered from nervous breakdowns and bipolar disorder.
With an unprecedented frenetic energy, Winters made obscure references to his illness and hospitalization during his stand-up routines, most famously on his 1960 comedy album, The Wonderful World of Jonathan Winters.
During his classic “flying saucer” routine, Winters casually mentions that if he weren’t careful, the authorities might put him back in the “zoo,” referring to the institution.
Today’s YouTube presentation brought to you by user name Stand Apart Comedy, is Jonathon Winters appearing on the Tonight Show when Jack Paar hosted the show, and it was called the Jack Paar Show instead of the Tonight Show.
On January 11, 2009, Winters’ wife of more than 60 years, Eileen, died at the age of 84 after a 20-year battle with breast cancer.
Winters died of natural causes on the evening of April 11, 2013, in Montecito, California at the age of 87. He was survived by his two children, Jay Winters and Lucinda Winters, and five grandchildren.
Fans of Winters placed flowers on his Hollywood Walk of Fame star on April 12, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.
Many comedians, actors, and friends gave personal tributes about Winters on social media shortly after his death. Robin Williams posted, “First he was my idol, and then he was my mentor and amazing friend. I’ll miss him huge. He was my Comedy Buddha. Long live the Buddha.”
What an amazing talent Jonathon Winter was, as he his comedy routines made everyone feel like his friend, as we remember his birthday today on November 11th.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell