RIP Jonathan Winters
When I was a teen aged boy, Jonathan Winters exploded into my consciousness, a manic, inventive, hilariously imaginative presence on the TV screen. He was a master of improv, a great mimic, and a creator of archetypal characters who rang very true, while at the same time being hilariously eccentric.
When I attended Kenyon College, I heard many stories, some of them perhaps true, about his antics as a student. He had served in the Marines before coming to Kenyon, and from what I heard, wrote his own rulebook. Kenyon, at the time a men's college on a hilltop 6 miles from the nearest town, was a place the nurtured humor and eccentricity, and in some sense Winters stood as an inspiration to many of us who found ourselves going slightly crazy from the isolation and lack of females.
It was always obvious that Winters maintained a fine line just this side of insanity, in order to be able to be as funny as he was. According to other obituaries and faintly remembered celebrity gossip, he had his battles with depression, but from what I know did so with a lot of dignity.
He will be missed.