(L-R) Actors Jonathan Winters, Mike Myers and Robin Williams pose for a portrait during the 6th annual 'TV Land Awards' on June 8, 2008 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for TV Land)
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
LOS ANGELES - Comedian Jonathan Winters, whose breakneck improvisations inspired Robin Williams, Jim Carrey and many others, has died at age 87.
Longtime family friend Joe Petro III says the Ohio native died Thursday evening at his Montecito, Calif., home of natural causes.
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.
In the mid-1950s, "The Jonathan Winters Show" pioneered the then-new videotape technology on to do stunts such as showing up as two characters on screen together.
He was introduced to millions of new fans in 1981 as the son of Williams' goofball alien in the final season of ABC's "Mork and Mindy."
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Top Entertainment Headlines
The show, starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara, will follow Washington politicos Francis and Claire Underwood on "their ruthless rise to power."