Jonathan Winters

A pioneer in the world of improvisational comedy, funnyman Jonathan Winters was born Nov. 11, 1925, in Dayton, Ohio. He entered showbiz by winning a talent contest that led to an announcing gig on radio, where his unbridled ad-libbing gradually took over the show.

After moving to the Big Apple in 1953, Winters gained notoriety on the club scene before becoming a favorite guest on TV variety programs that showcased his eccentric personas, including salty senior citizen Maude Frickert and Elwood P. Suggins. Winters broadened his gallery of characters when he landed three of his own series: in 1956, in 1967 and again in 1972.

Though known primarily for his TV work, Winters turned up often on the big screen, most notably in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), which garnered him a Golden Globe nod. His later movies include Moon Over Parador (1988), The Shadow (1994) and the feature-film edition of "The Smurfs" (2011). Winters died April 11, 2013.