The Kennedy Center

Jonathan Winters



Biography

The real Jonathan Winters was born in Dayton, Ohio on November 11, 1925. After attending public school in Springfield, he joined the Marine Corps at the age of seventeen. After serving two-and-a-half years in the South Pacific, he returned to Ohio and attended Kenyon College.

His interest in art led him to Dayton Art Institute where he studied for over two years and met the girl who would become his wife, Eileen.

Eileen encouraged Jonathan to enter a local talent contest in Dayton, which he did, and he won a wrist watch, but the performance led him to a job as an early morning disc-jockey on radio station WING in Dayton (1946).

This job led him to WBNS-TV in Columbus where he worked for three years. In 1953, Jonathan headed for New York for the "big time" with $56.46 in his pocket. As a performer at Manhattan's Blue Angel nightclub, his reputation as a comic began to grow. Gary Moore, who was substituting for Arthur Godfrey on the TV Show "Talent Scouts", presented Jonathan on the show. Then came the Jack Paar Show, The Steve Allen Show, and The Tonight Show, where Jonathan was able to demonstrate his comic genius and he became a top name in American Comedy.

Jonathan was living in Santa Barbara with Eileen, where he would paint and write when he was not performing. Jonathan died of natural causes in April of 2013 in Montecito, California at the age of 87. He was survived by his two children and five grandchildren.
Phot of Jonathan Winters

Additional Resources