Born in Dayton
. A painter
by training, and also an author in recent decades, but he's most famous as a improvisation
, someone with a speed-of-light wit and an infinite supply of characters
s inside of him; he has also used those voices in cartoon
s over the years, including the series based on Martin Short
's Ed Grimley
character. Winner of the second Mark Twain
Prize for humor
; Richard Pryor
was the first recipient.
A heavy influence on Robin Williams, who returned the favor by having Winters play his son Mearth on the sitcom Mork and Mindy, during the tail end of its run.
Other television gigs include a stint guest-hosting The Tonight Show (pre-Carson), a late-60s variety show on CBS, and a syndicated sketch comedy show in the early 70s. Film roles include It's a Mad... World, Moon Over Parador, and The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!
Winters died April 11, 2013, of natural causes in Montecito, California. He was 87 years old.