Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jonathan Winters, RIP

"You come into this world, not knowing who you are, and sometimes, if you live long enough, you go out not knowing who you are."
--Jonathan Winters

If I were smart I'd give up trying to write about people who've just died. I never pull it off. I usually end up saying rude things.

Jonathan Winters died a few days ago on April 11th.

I have his old records. If you see him in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, watch the restored version that has a pretty good scene with him, where he explains his reason for wanting the money. And I liked him in The Loved One and Viva Max, and The Russians are Coming the Russians are Coming.

He was hospitalized twice for nervous breakdowns. Like other creative people, had to warn them not to use any treatments like eletroshock therapy that would damage his memory and hurt his ability to improvise.

It was interesting to see him in The Loved One. It was different seeing him in a vaguely high brow black comedy with John Gielgud and Rod Steiger.

Frankly, I didn't like him on Mork & Mindy. Of course, I didn't like Mork & Mindy. And they kept cutting to shots of Mindy and Conrad Janis laughing at his and Robin Williams' antics. The basic premise, that on Mork's planet, people age backwards, didn't amuse me.

But I'm watching a documentary now, Certifiably Jonathan. It begins. We see Winters sitting in a make up chair preparing to go on a local talk show. He talks with the make up artist.

"Caroline, the short time you've been here, have you met a man of your dreams?"

"I'm married to him."

"Are you married?"

"Yes."

"How long have you been married?"

"Twenty years."

"Twenty. Well, there's no sense in getting out now. I always tell people if it's seven or eight, get out now and try to get someone new. Well, after twenty, it's a disease that doesn't go away. I've been married fifty-five."

"You have!"

"People say, 'That's wonderful', and I said, 'You try it'."

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