"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Monday, June 27, 2005


Paul Winchell - ventriloquist, actor, amateur inventor and maverick theologian - died Friday. He was 82.

Winchell was best known as the voice of Tigger, the coolest character (non-ursine division) in Disney's Winnie the Pooh cartoons. He also voiced Fleagle from The Banana Splits, Gargamel on The Smurfs, and Dick Dastardly on Dastardly and Muttley. He seems to have always thought of himself a ventriloquist first and foremost, however, and named Edgar Bergen as his greatest role model.

He considered himself a theologian; his inactive web site ProtectGod.com (cached copy here) promoted his unorthodox and profoundly anti-fundamentalist belief that God had been libeled by the Bible.

Interestingly (to me, anyway), he had the same birthday as my Lovely Bride.

He was also a prolific amateur inventor, credited with inventing an early version of the artificial heart, among other things - which should surprise no one, since inventin' artificial hearts is what Tiggers do best! Paul Winchell had a fascinating life, and a wonderful influence on several generations of children (he's the main reason I sometimes call my son "Buddy Boy.") He will be missed.




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