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The Animated Jonathan Winters (1925-2013)

by Jerry Beck
April 12, 2013 3:55 PM
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Winters - Alakazam

Above is a publicity clipping of Jonathan Winters for the first movie he ever "appeared" in - as the voice of Sir Quigley Brokenbottom, a pig, in American International's anime pick-up Alakazam The Great (coincidentally one of the first anime films ever imported to the US). 

His final film will be released later this year - the mostly-animated film, Smurfs 2 - where Winters completed his long-running role as Papa Smurf. 

Jonathan Winters passed away today of natural causes and was, without a doubt, one of the funniest human beings on Earth. You can read the tributes and see the clips on other blogs. Here we want to celebrate this "living cartoon" who was an inspiration to - not only other comedians, comedy writers and all who loved to laugh -  to animators and the world of animation, and left his mark (and voice) in numerous features, TV series and specials. 

Winters was a member of the original cast of Hanna-Barbera's Smurfs (as Papa), as well as a regular voice on H-B's The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley and Film Police, appeared often on Garfield and Friends, Tiny Toon Adventures, and Linus The Lionhearted. His one-off appearences in animated shows are too numerous to  mention - but I'll mention a few anyway: Johnny Bravo, The Flintstones, Ahhh, Real Monsters, Captain Planet and Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. On the big screen he voiced the Thief in The Princess And The Cobbler, and was featured in the clay animated stop-mo, I Go Pogo (1980). 

I can't let a tribute go with mentioning his scene stealing role in It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, his live action cameo in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and his straight role in the Alex Baldwin's The Shadow (1994).

Winters - Smurfs

Here's a scene (below) from the Pogo film - with Winters as "Porky Pine". Not his best role, but a rare clip to represent a rare individual.

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More: Jonathan Winters, The Smurfs 2


  • Michael Sporn | April 13, 2013 6:17 AMReply

    He was never very good at Voice Over parts, nor was he as funny as he was live and visible. His body was part of that voice that made him funny. Probably his last voice over was for the bastardized "fix" of Richard Williams' "Thief and the Cobbler." "Arabian Knight." Harvey Weinstein felt that Robin Williams was funny when improvising in "Aladdin" so he got Jonathan Winters to improvise in the Williams movie. It was for a character who wasn't supposed to speak at all, now he had he largest speaking part of any. It was the final feather that dropped the movie.

  • Eric | April 12, 2013 6:01 PMReply

    Let's not forget his Scooby Doo appearance (also for HB, of course). That was pretty much my main exposure to him.

    Frickert Fracas was always one of the more memorable episodes; especially when he does the voice impressions to try to fool the scarecrow.

    After Don Knotts and others died, I would always think that it was hard to believe that Winters was still kicking in there. You didn't really hear about him any more.

  • Aaron | April 12, 2013 5:15 PMReply

    Sad to see him go, but he had a good long life.

    But -- er -- Don Messick was Papa Smurf in all of the HB Smurfs cartoons. Jonathan Winters was Grandpa Smurf. Not a big deal, but in the interests of giving credit where due...

  • Jonathan Sloman | April 12, 2013 4:44 PMReply

    You forget his role in The Flintstones live action movie, in which he plays a character with a hat very similar to his It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World character's.

  • Anthony D. | April 12, 2013 4:13 PMReply

    RIP. :(

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