Comedian Jonathan Winters, whose breakneck improvisations inspired Robin Williams, Jim Carrey and many others, has died at age 87.
Winters died Wednesday night in Montecito, Calif., of natural causes, his agent Richard Lawrence of Rebel Entertainment Partners confirmed to CBS News. He was surrounded by family and friends.
Winters was a master of improvisational comedy, with a grab bag of eccentric personalities and facial expressions. Characters such as the dirty old lady Maude Frickert were based on people Winters knew growing up in Ohio.
There were few things more enjoyable than watching Winters on the old Tonight Show, cracking Carson up while improving about something seemingly without any entertainment value. He could grab almost any inanimate object and turn it into ten minutes of solid comedy. Here’s a quickie: