Sunday, June 26, 2005

A Tribute to Paul Winchell

When I was in kindergarten, my favorite cartoon of all was Wacky Races, and my favorite character therein was Dick Dastardly. When my daughter was small, she was a dedicated Winnie the Pooh fan, and her favorite character therein was Tigger. What do these two very different characters have in common?

The voice actor, Paul Winchell.

Paul Winchell has been a major name in cartoon character acting for a very long time. His name has been an ubiquitous feature in Disney and Hanna-Barbera since the 60s although he was known as a ventriloquist and radio performer as early as the late 40s. (Heck, he was even Gargamel in "The Smurfs"!) He also had amazing longevity: in the animated TV series "The Further Adventures of Winnie the Pooh", which played on the Disney Channel, he was the only one of the original Pooh character voice actors to participate for any length of time. (Actually, he played the role until the early 2000s, when Disney ditched him for "a rasp in his voice".) He also reprised the role of Tigger in the 1998 movie The Search for Christopher Robin.

Paul Winchell, born Paul Wilchin, also had some other, unexpected talents. He actually designed an artificial heart which, though it never came into production, formed the basis of every model of artificial heart known today.

Paul Winchell, you will be missed. TTFN: ta ta for now.

1 comment:

Don Snabulus said...

Paul Winchell's site is pretty cool. He had a plan to help with world hunger too....the Tilapia project.