Winters Couldn't Spring For A Later Release; The Feathered Choir Needs Manic Comic

 Jonathon Winters, one of the great comedians of  the 20th century, closed his crinkly eyes and his smile lingered as he died of natural causes.

His family was present at his California home when he breathed his last. Many of his 87 years were spent making fans flag from laughing. Knee-slapping with uncontrollable heaves of laughter marked response to Winters' manic-style mimicry. He voiced Papa Smurf for the previous "Smurf's" film, released in 2011, and had just finished "Smurfs 2".

Gary Owens,"Laugh-in" announcer said, "He was one of the great comedy talents in the history of the United States." Jack Paar, who helped propel winters into the national consciousness with appearances on the "Tonight" Show, in the 50's ,introduced him as, "If you ask me who are the 25 most funny people I know, I would say, 'Here they are, Jonathan Winters.'"

Born on Nov. 11, 1925 in Dayton, Ohio, Winters grew up to have a rubbery, moon-shaped face and pitch-perfect ear for speech patterns. He could range from playing a redneck, a ballplayer, a lisping child and a prissy schoolmarm. His best known character was Maude Frickert, the swinging granny, whom he described as a cross between Whistler's Mother and Norman Bates' mother.

Winters took home the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 1999. He had two children with his wife, Eileen, who died in 2009.