12 April 2013 10:30 AM, PDT | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

Jonathan Winters - an improvisational genius and the comedic spiritual godfather to a generation of younger comics, including Robin Williams, Jim Carrey and the late Andy Kaufman - died of natural causes Thursday night. He was surrounded by family and friends at his home in Montecito, Calif., the Associated Press reports. He was 87. Known for the wild array of characters he could create in a flash - his naughty old lady Maude Frickert was a Tonight Show headliner who routinely broke up hosts Jack Paar and then Johnny Carson - Winters, playing doltish truck driver Lennie Pike, stole the all-star 1963 movie It's a Mad, »


- Stephen M. Silverman

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