The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Entertainment

April 12, 2013

Groundbreaking improv comic Jonathan Winters dies

(Continued)

LOS ANGELES —

One night after a show, an older man sweeping up told him he wasn't breaking any new ground by mimicking the rich or famous.

"He said, 'What's the matter with those characters in Ohio? I'll bet there are some far-out dudes that you grew up with back in Ohio,'" Winters told the Orange County Register in 1997.

Two days later, he cooked up one of his most famous characters: the hard-drinking, dirty old woman Maude Frickert, modeled in part on his own mother and an aunt.

Appearances on Paar's show and others followed and Winters soon had a following. Before long, he was struggling with depression and drinking.

"I became a robot," Winters told TV critics in 2000. "I almost lost my sense of humor ... I had a breakdown and I turned myself in (to a mental hospital). It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do."

Winters was hospitalized for eight months in the early 1960s. It's a topic he rarely addressed and never dwelled on.

"If you make a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year and you're talking to the blue-collar guy who's a farmer 200 miles south of Topeka, he's looking up and saying, 'That bastard makes (all that money) and he's crying about being a manic depressive?'" Winters said.

When he got out, there was a role as a slow-witted character waiting in the 1963 ensemble film "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."

"I finally opened up and realized I was in charge," Winters told PBS interviewers for 2000's "Jonathan Winters: On the Loose." ''Improvisation is about taking chances, and I was ready to take chances."

Roles in other movies followed, as did TV shows, including his own.

Text Only
Entertainment
  • NWS - HB0817 - Elwood Glass - 016 Glass tours offer unique perspective Although many visitors to the Elwood Glass Festival go for the food, vendors and rides, they also have a unique opportunity to visit the glass factories that give the festival its name.

    August 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alex Grand Prix set for Aug. 23-24 The third annual Alexandria Grand Prix Street Race will be held Saturday and Sunday in downtown Alexandria.

    August 16, 2014

  • NWS - HB0816 - glass festival - 001 Glass Festival celebrates Elwood history With a snip from Mayor Ron Arnold's scissors and a performance by the Elwood High School marching band, the 43rd Elwood Glass Festival officially kicked off Friday.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0819 - Glass Festival file - DK - 01 43rd Elwood Festival kicks off today A new community mascot is just one thing to celebrate this weekend. The 43rd Annual Elwood Glass Festival runs today through Sunday, and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marcy Fry said there are plenty of new attractions for the decades-old event.

    August 15, 2014 5 Photos

  • Live music: Aug. 15 The following listings for live music and entertainment at area venues are published in the Friday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    August 14, 2014

  • FEA - HB0813 - Paramount Anderson Prom 2014 136 Paramount celebrates 85 years The doors first opened on Aug. 20, 1929. Eighty-five years later, the Paramount Theatre Centre and Ballroom is having a double celebration with three events this week

    August 12, 2014 3 Photos

  • FEA - HB0811 - Gencon saturday(1) GenCon Indy: No sign of letting up GenCon bills itself as "the original, longest-running, best-attended, gaming convention in the world" and it is hard to dispute that claim. A year ago more than 49,000 attendees came to Indy for the con, a record for the event's 46-year run.

    August 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA HB0810 That's Lutheran Love 'Mighty Fortress,' mighty funny While the stories of the Church Basement Ladies may be set in Minnesota, the hijinks of the casserole-baking, Bible-memorizing teetotalers seem familiar to Hoosiers. Patrons will likely ride home from the newest installment of the series, “A Mighty Fortress is Our Basement,” recounting stories of how similar the characters are to family members or friends.

    August 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • FEA - HB0808 Little Big Town Little Big Town headed to Hoosier Park Saturday night

    The Country Music Association's 2013 reigning duo of the year, Little Big Town, will take the stage Saturday night during Hoosier Park's Sounds of Summer series.

    August 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA - HB0808 - smokey the bear Mounds Park to celebrate Smokey Bear's 70th birthday Only you can prevent forest fires, but Smokey Bear has been urging fire safety for generations. The poster child of fire prevention turns 70 years old this week, and Mounds State Park is celebrating Smokey’s birthday.

    August 7, 2014 1 Photo