"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one. "
~John Lennon

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Do You Remember Jonathan Winters?

Maybe some of the younger generation won't know who Jonathan Winters is, but he was one of my favorite comedians. He seemed to have talent pouring out of him. Almost to the point that he sometimes must have had to rein it in, hold back. For him, it wasn't just ad lib humor, it was a way of life.

When I lived in San Diego and my younger daughter and son-in-law lived in Valencia, I would drive to Valencia to see them often. Sometimes we would drive to Hollywood or Glendale or other areas for dinner. One evening we were at a restaurant getting ready to order dinner and my daughter said "Mom, Jonathan Winters is over there." She knew I was a big fan of his. Being around celebrities was not such a big treat for me, having grown up around them and knowing they were just people who had chosen to become actors.

But Jonathan Winters was someone I did like and wanted to meet. I walked over to the table he was occupying and told him I was very pleased to see him and didn't want to disturb his visit with his friend, I just wanted to shake his hand and thank him for all the joy he provided. Mr Winters was so gracious, asked me to join them, introduced me to his friend, and we began a tremendous conversation. He seemed genuinely interested in my answers and he told me about his wife and he wanted to know about my life too. This was prior to 2009, when his wife Eileen passed away after 60 years being married.

It wasn't until later that I learned some of the more personal aspects of Jonathan's life. I hadn't met my now ex-husband yet when I enjoyed my visit with Jonathan Winters. But now that I have lived with someone with bipolar disorder, I have a much better insight into the behavior and genius of Mr Winters.
My ex-husband has endured a life with bipolar disorder and is talented and intelligent. And most of the time it is like living in the middle of a tropical storm. Excitement, Anxiety, Fear ; never a dull moment as well as never quiet and calm. Even the times of depression are not calm.

Besides the comic talent in abundance, Jonathan Winters is an artist. Here are a couple of his drawings that I would like to purchase if I had the extra money.

"Hiding From the Enemy or Relatives"

"All American Ice Cream Cone"


Shammickite said...

I remember Jonathan Winters but his style of humour never appealed to me.
However, I can sense your excitement at being able to sit down and have a conversation with your favourite comedian, that must have been an awesome feeling!

Ina in Alaska said...

Oh yes, I remember Jonathan Winters. Wonderful performer!

LL Cool Joe said...

I've never heard of him, but that may just mean he wasn't big here in the UK. How great that you got to meet him though. :)

Ms. A said...

I never knew he (Winters) was bipolar. Back in the day, things like that were never discussed. On the rare occasions you did hear something, it was presented as scandalous.

Stephen Hayes said...

Jonathan Winters is one of the true comic geniuses of our time. I envy you your special moment with him.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I definitely remember him. Didn't know he was bipolar. How sweet of him to invite you to sit at the table. My husbands aunt got to be good friends with Jimmy Durante back many, many years ago in Chicago when she worked at a hotel downtown.

bill lisleman said...

Many artistic talented people suffer from a variety of mental problems. I had learn that Jonathan Winters had problem but I didn't remember the details. He had many funny characters inside of him.

DJan said...

I remember him very well. That is a great story, and I'm so glad to learn he was a true gentleman.

Rock Chef said...

I don't think he made it over here - at least not as far as me! :-)

I like it when famous people are just normal, and detest the modern Celebrity culture where people who have done nothing of importance act like everyone should bow down to them...

CiCi said...

Shammickite, yes, I enjoyed meeting Jonathan Winters and was impressed with his humility and gentleness in person.

Ina, I still like him, there is something lively about him.

Joey, I know Jonathan was known in the US, but I think you would have liked him. He still does voices for some movies.

Ms A, you are correct. Bipolar Disorder was kept quiet especially for people in the public.

Stephen, glad you see what I see in him.

Debby, it was sweet of him to invite me to sit and visit. He was not show offy or loud, just a nice man.

Bill, yes, so many artists and talented folks have to deal with their own challenges. I was always so pleased with how quickly Jonathan Winters would change his facial expressions and his voice.

DJan, some other well known actors did not behave this well at all.

RC, I do too. I look at actors as ordinary people who have the job of acting. They make money like some athletes do, good for them to earn lots of money. That does not make them better than the average person.

Brian Miller said...

i did not realize he was an artist as well....interesitng...really like the pics...pretty cool to meet him...i did remember him...and interesting bit about his life as well...

happy saturday!

Hilary said...

Oh yes, a brilliant comedian. How lovely for you to have had that wonderful time with him.

Jeni said...

Now I really do envy you! I -like you -always loved Jonathon Winters work. The man was really fantastic!

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Living with bipolar hubby is my issue too. It's mild but the anger , the depression and the highs are tricky to manoeuvre around but we have managed to keep plodding along.
Went to you tube and saw many clips of him. I don't actually recall him but I guess I must have seen him on late night shows long ago.
I recall Red Buttons more.