5 things you didn’t know about Jonathan Winters

18 Aug

For six and a half decades Jonathan Winters was an actor, comedian, author, an artist. His array of character, improvisational style, and voice impersonations made him an instant hit in radio, television, movies, and on comedy records. On television he was a much sought after guest of talk shows, game shows, and sitcoms. Former “Tonight Show” host Jack Paar once called Jonathan Winters, “pound for pound, the funniest man alive” .

He was a Marine during World War II

In 1943 Jonathan Winters dropped out of high-school, in his senior year, to become a United States Marine. After he finished his training he was stationed over-seas in the Pacific Theater were he spent the next two and a half years.

He was married for over 60 years

When Jonathan Winters was attending the Dayton Art Institute he meet Eileen Schauder. The two started dating and married in 1948 and just as it stated in wedding vows “until death do us part”. That day came in 2009 when Eileen Winter’s battle with breast cancer came to a tragic end.

His wife started him on his career path

Shortly after they were married Eileen Winter talked Jonathan into signing up for a talent show. It turned out to be a good move as he won the talent show. That win lead to a job as a DJ at a local radio station in Dayton. After three years at the station he decided it was time to move on and the couple moved to New York. Not long after arriving Jonathan started working the nightclub circuit where his reputation as a comedy took off.

He was commited to an asylum twice

In both 1959 and 1961 Jonathan Winters suffer from nervous breakdowns. The first time he was in for a 2 week observation. Some of the detail of what happened before he was taken in are a little hazy. One report has him climbing the mast of a ship and declaring he was an alien. According to him the truth was the man selling tickets didn’t see the humor in one of his joke and called the harbor police. Seeing Jonathan Winters on stage you can see where either one of those versions could have a basis of truth. On the second occasion it was his wife that had him committed and he spent 8 months.

He was a painter

Besides his great comedic skills Mr. Winter was also a very prolific painter. Before he started his career he studied at the Dayton Art Institute where he found a passion for both drawing and painting. Even though he never made a career out of his art, he kept up the practice of his creative talents.

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