June 27, 2005 12:15 PM   Subscribe

Paul Winchell the voice of Tigger passed away on June 24th at the age of 82. In addition to his famous voice, he also helped develop the artificial heart , held over 30 patents, had a plan to feed the hungry with tilapia, was a ventriloquist and was the voice of Gargamel. One day later the voice actor for Piglet also passed away. With Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice of Tony the Tiger, succumbing to prostate cancer in late May, it may be true that celebrities die in threes. Or does tiger voice actor Jim Cummings have something to worry about?
posted by phirleh (16 comments total)
posted by dial-tone at 12:21 PM on June 27, 2005

Unfortunately the Disney incarnation of Winnie the Pooh is a cultural travesty beyond compare...or a complete travesty if you like.
posted by i_cola at 12:31 PM on June 27, 2005

from April Winchell's site (Paul's daughter):
I got a phone call a few minutes ago, telling me that my father passed away yesterday.

A source close to my dad, or at least, closer than I was, decided to tell me himself, instead of letting me find out on the news, which I appreciate. Apparently a decision had been made not to tell me, or my father's other children.

My father was a very troubled and unhappy man. If there is another place after this one, it is my hope that he now has the peace that eluded him on earth.
I think I heard somewhere that he was an abusive father/husband.

I loved his character on Winnie the Pooh though. That's my main tigger, right there.
posted by lotsofno at 12:33 PM on June 27, 2005

Mark Evanier noted that Howard Morris, who also died last month, was the original voice of Gopher in the Pooh-toons.

Actually last month, Ravenscroft, Morris and Frank Gorshin made the "three" for celebrity voices. I would worry more about older voice pros like Gary Owens and June Foray. Jim Cummings is the current voice of Pooh, but the original was Sterling Holloway, who died in 1992. Holloway was also in Disney's "Jungle Book" where George Sanders was the voice of Shere Khan the tiger. Sanders died in '72, and was one of 3 actors who played Mr. Freeze in the Batman TV show, which brings us back to Frank Gorshin. All these connections and no Kevin Bacon in sight.
posted by wendell at 12:35 PM on June 27, 2005

Tilapia as the key to solving world hunger. Hmm. Hadn't heard that one before.

I'd support the program, as long as Dean Fearing is cooking my Tilapia. Mmmm. I'll take the Grilled Tilapia with Pueblo Corn Crust and Pineapple Chili Salsa on Crabmeat White Cheddar Hash. And a lobster taco. TIA.
posted by dios at 12:44 PM on June 27, 2005

Winchell wrote an autobiography that was called "surprisingly frank" and "disturbing" about his childhood and his personal demons. There's an excerpt here. (NOT profiting on store link) The book ended with him leaning to be more at peace with himself, but he never made peace with much of his family.

He also was apparently a great teller of very dirty jokes (the Bob Saget of his era). There's more about him at Mark Evanier's Blog (and here).

I would've FPP'd this myself (and did at MonkeyFi), but I'd used up my daily post on UN Anti-Drug Day.
posted by wendell at 12:47 PM on June 27, 2005

Actually Howard Morris has a Bacon number of 1, he was in End of the Line (1988) with Kevin Bacon. Thurl Ravenscroft has a Bacon number of 2, he was in The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh (1977) with Clint Howard and Clint was in My Dog Skip (2000) with Kevin Bacon. Frank Gorshin has a Bacon number of 2, he was in High Times Potluck (2002) with Vinny Vella, Vinny Vella was in In the Cut (2003) with Kevin Bacon. Its quite sad that the days of good voice talent seem to be over. These people excelled at their craft and now film and TV voice talent seens to be the likes of Halle Berry (who has a Bacon number of 2).
posted by phirleh at 12:52 PM on June 27, 2005

yes, dios, but they were trying to get tilapia growing where lobsters and pineapples can't.
Apparently, tilapia can survive in bad conditions... even where dios has pissed.
posted by wendell at 12:52 PM on June 27, 2005

I thought his name sounded familiar.

I would say that the voices from The Simpsons are pretty darned good to counter the claim that all the tv voice talent has passed on.
posted by fenriq at 1:19 PM on June 27, 2005

phirleh, it's movie voices that are more often handed over to "Stars" (self-link). And guest stars on "Simpsons" or "Family Guy".
There are quite a few good pro voicers out there today (though a lot of their work is continuing characters others started): Jim Cummings, Billy West, Joe Alaskey, Tony Anselmo, Carlos Alazraqui (he's more in front of the camera these days), Keith Scott, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, Rob Paulsen, Jeff Bennett, Candy Milo, Kath Soucie, Tom Kenny, Charlie Adler, Dee Bradley Baker, Tara Strong... lots more of them, (I'm not including toon producers like Seth MacFarlane who do voices too...) plus that ex-Jedi Mark Hamill, and most of them are over 40.

posted by wendell at 1:20 PM on June 27, 2005

...and I didn't include the main Simpsons cast 'cause they're already so-o-o-o familiar.

Jane! Stop this crazy thread!
posted by wendell at 1:24 PM on June 27, 2005

Growing up, I never found Jerry Mahoney as funny or enjoyable as Charlie McCarthy or Lester. What I did love, though, was the juvenile TV game show Winchell hosted called "Runaround." It was a Saturday morning trivia-type show oriented towards kids, and I cursed my luck at not living in Los Angeles so I could be a contestant.

He did have such a unique voice (isn't that exactly what a Scrubbing Bubble should sound like?) as did Sterling Holloway and Thurl Ravenscroft. As someone who hates her own speaking voice, I envy those who can make a living with theirs.

RIP Winch
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:42 PM on June 27, 2005

I was rather surprised to read that there's a shortage of tilapia... I visited Lake Turkana a few years back and they could be had for 10 (dried) to 20 (cooked) cents apiece at the small villages. Just zillions and zillions of tilapia. I was also slightly amused when I came back to the US and they were considered some kind of delicacy in a lot of restaurants. Hm. Must be a distribution thing.
posted by rkent at 2:54 PM on June 27, 2005

Actually last month, Ravenscroft, Morris and Frank Gorshin made the "three" for celebrity voices

Also, Henry Corden.
posted by LinusMines at 4:40 PM on June 27, 2005

Also, just saw this today...John Fiedler, the voice of Piglet, died today (Tuesday) day after Paul Winchell's passing.
posted by tpl1212 at 5:17 AM on June 28, 2005

posted by Numenorian at 10:24 AM on June 28, 2005

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