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Jonathan Winters, the comedic film and TV actor who was huge in the '70s and '80s on shows like "Mork and Mindy," has died at age 87 ... TMZ has learned.
Winters died last night of natural causes in Montecito, Calif, around 6:30 p.m., surrounded by friends and family.
Winters' career began when he won a talent contest, which led to radio gigs and appearances at comedy clubs. He was a staple on the late night TV circuit for decades -- he was one of Jack Paar's favorite guests and a Johnny Carson regular -- and recorded several classic comedy albums.
He often performed in character ... the best known of which was Maude Frickert, the seemingly sweet old lady with a quick and acid wit.
Winters appeared in nearly 50 films and TV shows ... including the classic "It's a "Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" ... and was a regular on the Saturday morning children's television program "Hot Dog" in the '70s.
He co-starred with Robin Williams as Mearth -- Mork and Mindy's son ... who was hatched from an egg and aged backwards. Think Benjamin Button ... but funny.