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Paul Winchell Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (22) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 21 December 1922New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 24 June 2005Los Angeles, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NamePaul Wilchinsky
Nickname Winch

Mini Bio (1)

Born Paul Wilchinsky on December 21, 1922, the son of Sol and Clara Wilchinsky, Paul Winchell grew up to be the most beloved ventriloquist of American children. Ironically, as famous as Paul was, his dummy, Jerry Mahoney, was probably more famous. Not since Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy in the previous two decades had a ventriloquist and his dummy known equal celebrity.

Entering the spotlight on the Edward Bowes "Original Amateur Hour" (1948), he began working soon after in a review show in which Major Bowes would showcase the winners of his radio program. He started his television career on the CBS program The Bigelow Show (1948) in 1948; The Paul Winchell Show (1950), originally called "The Spiedel Show," in 1950; and, finally, the best-known of his shows Winchell-Mahoney Time (1965). With a clubhouse premise, his dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff--another of Paul's characters--as the clubhouse leaders, and the music of the bandleader Milton Delugg. A new innovation of Winchell's was to replace the dummy's hands with those of puppeteers who were hidden behind the dummies in a crate. Winch also played many serous dramatic roles on television without his dummy sidekicks.

What may be even more famous is that he created the voice of Tigger for the Walt Disney Company's "Winnie The Pooh" motion-picture series, based on the famous books by A.A. Milne. He played the role behind the scenes until 1999, when he was replaced by Jim Cummings, who also voiced Pooh from the time that Sterling Holloway died. He was also the voice of many other world-famous cartoon characters.

A little-known fact about Winchell is that he was one of the original inventors of an artificial heart--years before the first successful transplant with such of a device--an automobile that runs on battery power, a method for breeding tilapia, and many other inventions that are still around today.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: MeanDean

Spouse (3)

Jean Freeman (1974 - 24 June 2005) (his death) (2 children)
Nina Russel (1961 - 1972) (divorced) (1 child)
Dorothy (Dottie) Movitz (? - ?) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Exuberant voice
Voice of Tigger

Trivia (22)

Winchell was an amateur medical inventor who patented an artificial human heart.
Ventriloquist star from 1950s and 1960s television and films.
His puppet side-kicks, Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff, are now in the Smithsonian Institution.
Skilled voice-over artist for many Disney and Hanna-Barbera films.
Father of five children: Stephanie and Stacy (with first wife, Dottie Morse); April Winchell (with second wife, Nina Russel); and has adopted Larry and Keith (through his third wife, Jean Freeman). He's also got three grandchildren.
Winchell worked for years developing his ideas on artificial hearts and was mentioned in the news stories about the Utah man who got the first artificial heart and later when the Jarvik heart came to the fore. He hold several patents in artificial organ development.
Second wife, Nina Russel, was an actress. Their child April Winchell was born in 1960, and has done her father proud by becoming a top-notch vocal artist of her own. She has voiced "Clarabelle Cow", "Baby Herman's Mother", "Peg" in the Goof Troop (1992) series, and "Cruelle De Vil" for Disney; and contributed voices for such TV shows as The Simpsons (1989), and films such as Men in Black (1997).
Was extremely shy as a youth and had a stuttering problem. Awed by famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (who became his idol) and his monocled dummy Charlie McCarthy as a youth, Paul learned to throw his own voice and gradually overcame his speech impediment.
Named television's most versatile performer by Look magazine in 1952 and 1953.
Attended Columbia University, then studied and practiced acupuncture and hypnosis, the latter of which he used on his son Stacy when he underwent a tonsillectomy.
Held patents on over 30 devices, a flameless cigarette lighter, an invisible garter belt, a method of breeding Tilapia fish so that poorer countries could feed their citizens, and an indicator to show when frozen food had gone bad after a power outage. As for his major achievement, the artificial heart, which he built in 1963, was donated to the University of Utah for research. The first implant on a human happened in 1982.Paul Winchell invented the disposable razor which he neglected to get a patent on. when friends told him "Who would buy a razor just to throw it away?" Paul abandoned the idea, later to Winch's dismay, a major razor company proved Paul was right!
Started his career with a puppet named Terry in 1936 on radio's "Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour," and earned first prize. When Paul was not satisfied with the figure that Frank Marshall had carved for him, It looked like Paul, he created Jerry Mahoney by modifying a stock figure (Noseyboy) from the Frank Marshall's line of dummies. His dim-witted Knucklehead Smiff puppet debuted in 1950 on TV's "The Spiedel Show," which was later renamed "What's My Name?" was a Jerry Mahoney that "Winch" later modified himself.
Became the voice for Tigger in 1968 for the Walt Disney Company's Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) which earned an Academy Award for best animated short. He retired the vocal role after 33 years with "Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving" in 1999 at the age of 76. Jim Cummings, who voiced Pooh since the death of Sterling Holloway, took over the role of Tigger.
Earned a 1974 Grammy award for Best Children's Recording with "The Most Wonderful Things About Tiggers" from the feature Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974). He was also nominated for an Annie award for the animated feature Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (1997).
Credits his British born third wife Jean who came up with Tigger's signature phrase "TTFN," or "Ta-ta-for now."
Other famous cartoon voices over the years included Gargamel in "The Smurfs," the mustache-twirling Dick Dastardly of Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines (1969) and Boomer in The Fox and the Hound (1981).
Published the book "Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit" in 1954.
He won a $17.8-million jury verdict in his lawsuit against Metromedia Inc. over Metromedia's destruction of the only remaining tapes of his Winchell-Mahoney Time (1965) children's television series. Metromedia, which produced the show from 1964 to 1968, erased the 288 tapes in a dispute with Winchell over the syndication rights.
Died one day before the death of John Fiedler, who was the voice of Piglet in the animated Winnie the Pooh specials and films.
Recounts, in his autobiography, "Winch", about overcoming a severe childhood stutter, and tells about being severely abused by his mother. He had horrendous relationships with all of his children, according to his daughter, April Winchell, as told on her website (www.aprilwinchell.com) and book.
Was the voice for the "scrubbing bubbles" mascot for Dow Bathroom Cleaner, and after Dow sold its consumer products line to S.C. Johnson, the product was renamed to Scrubbing Bubbles.
Formerly courted June Foray.

Personal Quotes (2)

Television and its use of computers can make everything talk, so there's no need for the art of ventriloquism anymore. I don't think young kids today would even understand it.
Ventriloquism is closely related to magic. It's all about misdirection. You practice speaking from your diaphragm and low in your throat. You substitute letters for 'B' and 'P' that allow you to speak without moving your lips.

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