He was reluctant about taking the role until his wife pushed him. "You'd better take it, because you'll never work again if you don't take it," he recalled her saying. In the 1963 film, filled with comedy all-stars, Winters stood out as a truck driver who destroys a gas station.
He was, many agreed, one of a kind.
"The first time I saw Jonathan Winters perform, I thought I might as well quit the business," tweeted Dick Van Dyke after hearing of Winters' death. "Because, I could never be as brilliant."
His wife, Eileen, died in 2009. He is survived by two children and five grandchildren.