It reads, in full:
Jonathan Winters (1925-2013) was a truly great American, who should be forever remembered and celebrated.
The inventor of improv comedy, Jonathan kept generations of Americans in stitches for seven decades on TV and in the movies. From his own shows, to variety shows, to playing Mork’s (Robin Williams) son on Mork & Mindy, to single-handedly destroying a gas station in It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, to the voice of Papa Smurf, Jonathan has warmed our hearts with his wacky brand of humor.
When he burst onto the comedy scene in the ‘50s, his humor was so different, no one knew what to make of him. There were no jokes, no punch lines, just Jonathan acting like a nut, often in one of his home-spun characters such as the feisty old lady Maudie Frickert or the Southern yokel Elwood P. Suggins.
Emmy Magazine voted Jonathan the all-time number one guest of The Tonight Show, where he appeared over 25 times. Host Jack Paar in the early ‘60s declared “Pound for pound, Jonathan Winters is the funniest man on earth.”
Jonathan Winters inspired generations of comedians:
In Robin Williams’s heartfelt tribute to Jonathan Winters at last year’s Emmy Awards, he said, “Jonathan Winters was my mentor… I knew the moment I saw him on The Tonight Show when Jack Paar handed him a stick. What happened next was a genius at play…. He was comedy at the speed of thought, and I was hooked.”
Howie Mandel praised that “If you look up comic genius in the dictionary there should be a picture of Jonathan Winters.”
And when Bill Cosby was asked if he could see only one stand-up comedian ever, who would it be: he answered Jonathan Winters, pronouncing that “Jonathan Winters will make every last one of us stand there in awe.”
Jonathan is also a recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (the second person to ever receive the award), an Emmy Award winner and a Grammy Award winner.
But, Jonathan’s legacy comprises more than just his comedy. Eager to defend America, Jonathan quit high school and joined the Marine Corps, serving aboard the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard during Word Ward II. He always kept his military roots and often entertained our troops throughout his career.
So, let’s honor this truly great American for his service to our country, an inspiration, who touched the hearts of so many Americans. It’s time for President Obama to declare a National Jonathan Winters Day, a day not only to remember and honor Jonathan Winters, but a day to give gratitude to all the people that have inspired us in our lives.
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President of the United States
Declare a National Jonathan Winters Day