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DAYTON AREA BROADCASTER’S 
HALL OF FAME
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Dayton Area Broadcasters 
Hall of Fame

Jonathan Winters was born in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Alice Kilgore, a radio personality, and Jonathan Harshman Winters II, an investment broker.  He was a descendant of Valentine Winters, founder of the Winters National Bank in Dayton, Ohio (now part of JPMorgan Chase).


Of English and Scots-Irish ancestry, Winters had described his father as an alcoholic who had trouble holding a job. When he was seven, his parents separated, and Winters' mother took him to Springfield, Ohio, to live with his maternal grandmother.


During his senior year of high school, Winters quit and joined the United States Marine Corps and served two and a half years in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Upon his return he attended Kenyon College. He later studied cartooning at Dayton Art Institute, where he met Eileen Schauder, whom he married in 1948.


Eileen encouraged Jonathan to enter a local talent contest in Dayton, which he did, and he won a wrist watch, but the performance led him to a job as an early morning disc-jockey on radio station WING in Dayton.


This job led him to WBNS-TV in Columbus where he worked for three years. In 1953, Jonathan headed for New York for the "big time" with $56.46 in his pocket. As a performer at Manhattan's Blue Angel nightclub, his reputation as a comic began to grow. Garry Moore, who was substituting for Arthur Godfrey on the TV Show "Talent Scouts", presented Jonathan on the show. Then came the Jack Paar Show, The Steve Allen Show, and The Tonight Show, where Jonathan was able to demonstrate his comic genius and he became a top name in American Comedy.


Winters recorded many classic comedy albums for the Verve Records label, starting in 1960. Probably the best-known of his characters from this period is "Maude Frickert", the seemingly sweet old lady with the barbed tongue.  And who could forget “Merth” from “Mork and Mindy”


Winters died on April 11, 2013, in Montecito, California, of natural causes. He is survived by his two children Jay and Lucinda Winters and five grandchildren.


Jonathan Winters

11/11/25 - 4/11/2013

Click here to visit Jonathan Winters web site