Friday, April 12, 2013

R.I.P. Jonathan Winters - This World Just Got A Lot Less Funny ..

Jonathan Harshman Winters III  (November 11, 1925 – April 11, 2013) was an American comedian, actor, and artist.
Winters recorded many classic comedy albums for the Verve Records label, starting in 1960. He also appeared in nearly 50 movies and several television shows, including eccentric characters in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters (1972–1974), Mork & Mindy and Hee Haw.
After voicing Grandpa Smurf on The Smurfs (1986–1989) and Papa Smurf in The Smurfs (2011 film), Winter's final feature film was The Smurfs 2 in 2013, which will be dedicated in his memory.
In 1999, Winters was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. In 2008, Winters was presented with a Pioneer TV Land Award by Robin Williams.
Winters spent time painting and presenting his art in many gallery shows. His wife of over 60 years died in 2009 of breast cancer, four years prior to Winters' death.

(CNN) -- Jonathan Winters, the wildly inventive actor and comedian who appeared in such films as "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and "The Loved One" and played Robin Williams' son on the TV show "Mork & Mindy," has died. He was 87.
Winters died Thursday evening of natural causes at his home in Montecito, California, according to business associate Joe Petro III.
Winters was known for his comic irreverence, switching characters the way other people flick on light switches. His routines were full of non sequiturs and surreal jokes. Williams, in particular, often credited him as a great influence.
"First he was my idol, then he was my mentor and amazing friend," tweeted Williams. "I'll miss him huge. He was my Comedy Buddha. Long live the Buddha."
 Comedian Jonathan Winters dies 1989: Jonathan Winters says 'goodnight'
Winters, who was widely admired by comedians in general, was awarded the Mark Twain Prize -- which goes to outstanding humorists -- in 1999.
"Genius" was a common touchstone as comedians reacted to Winters' death.
"R.I.P Jonathan Winters," tweeted comedian and filmmaker Albert Brooks. "Beyond funny, he invented a new category of comedic genius."
"Had a great run. Actual genius," tweeted Kevin Pollak.
"A genius and the greatest improvisational comedian of all time," tweeted Richard Lewis.
Though he never had a breakout starring role, over the years his appearances on TV shows made him a beloved figure in the entertainment world. He was a favorite guest on "The Tonight Show" -- particularly in the early '60s when Jack Paar hosted it -- and turned up on the game show "The Hollywood Squares," Dean Martin's celebrity roasts and countless variety shows.
He told the Archive of American Television about the creation of his character Maude Frickert, the sarcastic old lady, who came from a relative he had.
"I decided, having seen a lot of older people, that many of them are shelved -- put in retirement homes to rot," he said. "I decided to (be) a hip old lady" -- one who had a wicked sense of humor, the kind of person who was married 12 times and cracked a whip in a ward of cardiac patients.
Other characters included Elwood P. Suggins, B.B. Bindlestiff and Lance Loveguard.
He had a regular role on the final season of "Mork & Mindy," putting him together with Williams, who played the space visitor Mork from Ork. Winters played Mearth, Mork's son, who -- having hatched from a giant egg -- was the size of an adult but had the mind of a child. The attempted pairing of Williams and Winters was expected to create comic fireworks, but the show's already falling ratings didn't pick up, and "Mork & Mindy" was canceled in 1982.
Winters showed his range with the occasional dramatic role. In an episode of "The Twilight Zone," he played a shark-like pool player. In the 1994 film "The Shadow" -- with Alec Baldwin as the hero with the ability to cloud men's minds -- he played Baldwin's police chief uncle.
He was also a prolific recording artist, producing more than a dozen comedy records, including 1960's "The Wonderful World of Jonathan Winters."
Winters was born November 11, 1925, in Dayton, Ohio. He developed his talent for characters and voices from a young age. After serving in World War II, he married his wife, Eileen, in 1948 and hoped to become an artist. That career went nowhere, but his wife encouraged him to enter a talent contest. His win there earned him a position as a disc jockey on a local radio station, making up some of his interviewees. Eventually he left for New York, becoming a nightclub comic and earning spots on "The Tonight Show."
In 1961, Winters suffered a nervous breakdown. He spent eight months in a mental institution and was diagnosed as bipolar.
"It was one of the toughest times in my life," he told the Archive of American Television.
But when he got out -- on April Fools' Day, 1962 -- he almost immediately got a call from director Stanley Kramer, offering him a role in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." Kramer was one of the most highly regarded directors in Hollywood, known for "The Defiant Ones" and "Judgment at Nuremberg."
He was reluctant about taking the role until his wife pushed him. "You'd better take it, because you'll never work again if you don't take it," he recalled her saying. In the 1963 film, filled with comedy all-stars, Winters stood out as a truck driver who destroys a gas station.
He was, many agreed, one of a kind.
"The first time I saw Jonathan Winters perform, I thought I might as well quit the business," tweeted Dick Van Dyke after hearing of Winters' death. "Because, I could never be as brilliant."
His wife, Eileen, died in 2009. He is survived by two children and five grandchildren.

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Art NEWS - Hanna-Barbarians Group Show @ myplasticheartNYC Opens April 19 + Sneak Peeks

On April 19 myplasticheart will celebrate the opening of Hanna-Barbarians, a group show featuring the work of over 20 artists from the U.S. and abroad. The show’s name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to its theme, with all artists creating pieces using elements from their favorite cartoons. This is a chance for these artists to showcase those cartoons that have influenced them throughout their careers, sometimes being critical elements in their development and interest in the arts. The show is curated by the Studio Miners, Evoker & Team Sweet, who find joy in documenting the wonderfully exciting world of artists, collectors and creatives of all kinds. This theme particularly appealed to the Studio Miners because in their travels and studio visits, they were always fascinated to see what imagery other artists surrounded themselves with to stimulate creativity.
The opening will take place on Friday, April 19 from 6 – 9pm and the show will run until May 17. In anticipation of the opening, we will feature several sneak peeks of art from the show on this blog.  To sign up for our preview list contact
Participating Artists:

Abe Lincoln Jr.
Brian Butler
Chris RWK
Clams Rockefeller
Flying Fortress
George Lamontagne
Heidi Kenney
Paul Shih
Phil Lumbang
Podgy Panda
Tim Sullivan
Opening night Friday, April 19
6:00PM – 9:00PM
Exhibition runs until May 17
210 Forsyth St.
Lower East Side
New York

Hanna-Barbarians Sneak Preview: Eyeformation

Eyeformation, a MA-based artist who was recently the cover artist for Boston’s Weekly Dig and was also featured in the Boston Phoenix, is participating in our upcoming Hanna-Barbarians group show opening a week from today (April 19)! With his bold lines and bright colors, we’re super stoked to see his take on some of his favorite and most influential cartoon characters. Check out the Studio Miners’ studio visit with Eyeformation for a look into his world.

Sneak Peek for Hanna-Barbarians: OBLVN

We announced our upcoming show, Hanna-Barbarians, yesterday, so now it is time to start rolling out the sneak previews! Today we’re featuring OBLVN’swork. This artist was a no-brainer choice for this show. With his iconic characters, and his use of classic cartoon references, OBLVN makes a perfect addition to Hanna-Barbarians. Here’s a sneak peek of his pieces in the show. You’ll have to come out to the opening on Friday, April 19 to see the full pieces. See you there!

Hanna-Barbarians Sneak Peek: Smut Villain

Smut Villain (aka Tim Sullivan) is one of the artists participating in the Hanna-Barbarians show opening on April 19 at mph. His work exudes the charm of vintage cartoons and this piece in particular references both Popeye and Don Martin of Mad Magazine fame. To see the entire work, make sure to attend the show’s opening on Friday, April 19 from 6 – 9pm at mph.