Manic comic Jonathan Winters dead at 87

Comedian Jonathan Winters performs at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada in this September 7, 1971 handout photo from the Las Vegas News Bureau. Winters, the film and TV actor who starred on ”Mork and Mindy,” died April 11, 2013 at age 87 in Montecito, California of natural causes. Credit: Reuters/Las Vegas News Bureau/Handout

Comedian Jonathan Winters performs at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada in this September 7, 1971 handout photo from the Las Vegas News Bureau. Winters, the film and TV actor who starred on ”Mork and Mindy,” died April 11, 2013 at age 87 in Montecito, California of natural causes.
Credit: Reuters/Las Vegas News Bureau/Handout

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:38pm EDT

LOS ANGELES - Comedian Jonathan Winters, whose manic improvisational genius never seemed to take a rest, has died at the age of 87 after a more than 50-year career in stand-up, on television and in film.

The burly, moon-faced Winters, a major influence on contemporary comedians like Robin Williams and Steve Martin, died on Thursday of natural causes at his Montecito, California home, surrounded by family and friends, said long time family friend Joe Petro III.

Winters had standout roles in 1960s comedy films "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and "The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming."

He also made regular appearances on "The Tonight Show" with hosts Jack Paar and then Johnny Carson, and had his own TV shows "The Jonathan Winters Show" and "The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters" in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

(Reporting By Bill Trott and Eric Kelsey; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Vicki Allen)

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