Dear Alum: Jonathan Winters ’50 (sort of)

Kenyon’s alumni are some of the best and brightest in the world (we happen to think). In this new feature, we’ll be celebrating some of our most beloved Kenyon alums with the highest honor any mortal can hope to achieve: notes/letters published on the Internet. Yes, that’s right, the Internet.


Dear Jonathan Winters,

Okay, so technically you never graduated from Kenyon, but that won’t stop us from featuring you on our website for a second. You made it big, kid, and we love stories like that, just having you associated with Kenyon is enough to count you among our most illustrious alumni. And sure, a lot of kids might not know who you are anymore, but that doesn’t dim your light one bit. I’ll admit, I had no idea who you were until extremely recently, but ever since I figured it out, you’ve been a personal hero of mine.

You went into comedy, a personal goal of mine, and you left a mark on the whole business. Apart from being renowned for your comedic talents and persona, you were also a role model for comedians dealing with mental health concerns, like Maria Bamford, a contribution that cannot be understated.

For me, one of your biggest achievements, which may have seemed one of the more inconsequential for you, is that you were featured on an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, as yourself. That’s HUGE. You have literally reached the top of the top. Hats off to you, sir. You’re an inspiration.



3 responses

  1. Maria Bamford is, of course, wonderful. But it feels odd to mention her here. Undoubtedly, Winters was an influence for her, but he was an influence for almost everyone. Assemble the funniest celebrities you can think of and I guarantee they would cite Winters as an influence.

    When you mention comedians with mental health problems and Jonathan Winters in the same sentence, I am amazed there is no mention of the recently deceased Robin Williams in this article. Williams was perhaps the person most influenced by Winters and the two worked together quite often. Here’s a wonderful segment about Winters which also focuses on his relationship with Williams

    I know this feature is not meant to be comprehensive and is meant to be more lighthearted, but I think it’s important for people to know who Winters is and was (as you mentioned, not everybody knows his name anymore). And so much more could be said about this man and his accomplishments.

  2. Pingback: Dear Alum: Jim Borgman ’76 | The Thrill

  3. Pingback: Dear Alum: Rutherford B. Hayes, 1842 | The Thrill

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