Jonathan Harshman Winters III was born on November 11, 1925 in Dayton, Ohio. His father, also Jonathan, was a banker who became an alcoholic after being crushed in the Great Depression. His parents divorced in 1932. Jonathan and his mother then moved to Springfield to live with his grandmother. There his mother remarried and became a radio personality. Jonathan joined the United States Marine Corps during his senior year of high school. Upon his discharge, he entered Kenyon College and later transferred to Dayton Art Institute. He met his wife, Eileen Schauder, in 1948 and married a month later. They remain married until her death in January 11, 2009. They have a son, Jay, who is a contractor, and a daughter, Lucinda, who is a talent scout for movies.
Jonathan got his start in show business by winning a talent contest. This led to a children's television show in Dayton in 1950. This led to a game show and a talk show. Denied a requested raise, he moved the family to New York with only $56 in their pocket. Within two months, he was getting night club bookings. He suffered two nervous breakdowns, one in 1959 and another in 1961. He made ten Grammy-nominated comedy recordings and won once. Jonathan Winters died at age 87 of natural causes on April 11, 2013 in Montecito, California.
|Eileen Winters||(11 September 1948 - 11 January 2009) (her death) 2 children|
An accomplished abstract painter, he created a series of work which was collected into a book titled "Hang Ups".
Served in the Marines during World War II as gunner on the aircraft carrier Bon Homme Richard in the Pacific.
Wrote a collection of short stories entitled "Winters Tales".
Was voluntarily institutionalized twice in his life (and even made light of it in his stand-up comic act).
Considered by many to be one of the finest improvisational comics ever.
Mr. Winters made his semi-annual visit to the "Hollywood Collectors & Celebrities Show" for an autograph session and to meet his fans.
According to the book "Tomorrow I Die", Winters appeared in the short film "Screen Test of Mike Hammer" as a wino. This film also featured Jack Stang and Bettye Ackerman. Stills are found in the aforementioned book.
Is of Native American ancestry.
In 2000, he won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, presented annually by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
In a 1985 television special, named King Kong (1933) as the film that made the biggest impression on him in his youth.
Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6290 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
His popular drag character Maude Frickert was inspired both by one of his aunts as well as by character actress Maudie Prickett, who also was billed occasionally as Maude Prickett.
Longtime friends with Harry Morgan.
Suffered from bipolar disorder.
Dropped out of high school to join the Marines.
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.
Spent eight months in hospital in 1959 and 1961 undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder and nervous breakdowns.
Was said to have worshiped the work Stan Laurel, and was very close, in his final years, with an admirer of his own, comedian 'Richard Lewis'.
If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it.
I don't do jokes. The characters are my jokes.
[when someone asked him how to get into show business] You know how movie studios have a front gate? You get a Camaro with a steel grill, drive it through the gate, and once you're on the lot, you're in showbiz.
As a kid, I always wanted to be lots of things. I was a Walter Mitty type. I wanted to be in the French Foreign Legion, a detective, a doctor, a test pilot with a scarf, a fisherman who hauled in a tremendous marlin after a 12-hour fight.
[on painting] This year  I got the idea when I was sitting in a hamburger joint and a hearse pulled up. A few minutes later a U-Haul parked behind the hearse. I want to do a picture of a horse pulling a U-hearse entitled 'You Can't Take It With You'.
Of course there are those who can paint much more quickly than I. They take cobalt blue, throw it against a 15-by-20 canvas and say, 'Ah, look, this is 3 o'clock overlooking Central Park'. Then, when someone says, 'I don't get it', the artist replies, 'You don't get it? It's the happening, it's the feeling. And it costs $200,000'. It's a slap in the teeth to talented, struggling people who studied art when some little dummy comes along with two brushes, drinks a lot of turpentine, smokes four joints and says, 'Hey, man, is this not out of sight?'
I've done for the most part pretty much what I intended. I ended up doing comedy, writing and painting. I've had a ball. And as I get older, I just become an older kid.
[re comedy icon Stan Laurel] Damn it! I'm the only one out here who never managed to meet him. And there he was, sitting right out there in Santa Monica all those years. The Oceana Apartments, wasn't it? I'll never get over that.
|It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)||$130,000|
(November 2002) Does impromptu, funny, free comedy routines the first Sunday of each month during the Ventura County Antique Fair Grounds. In November/December 2002 in San Francisco on the set of the feature film Swing (2003/I), directed by Martin Guigui where he plays the character of Uncle Bill.
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