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GRAMMY-winning comedian Jonathan Winters died April 11 at his home in Montecito, Calif. He was 87. Winters gained fame for his improvisational talent and over the years developed characters who became his hallmark, including a hip granny, Maude Frickert, that he played in drag. He was best known on TV, appearing on late-night variety shows as well as his own shows in the '60s, '70s and '80s. He also had roles in films such as It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) and The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming (1966). Winters, who was an influence on many comedians who followed, including Lily Tomlin and Robin Williams, also enjoyed a lengthy recording career starting with The Wonderful World Of Jonathan Winters in 1960. He won his lone GRAMMY for Best Spoken Comedy Album for Crank Calls in 1995. "The entertainment world has lost one of its giants," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow, "and his legacy will continue to inspire future comedians for many generations to come."
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