Ventriloquist Paul Winchell, best known for voicing Tigger in Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, has died at age 82.
He passed away early Friday in his sleep at his home in Moorpark, California, Burt Du Brow, a television producer and close family friend, said Saturday.
Born in 1922 in New York, Winchell contracted polio at age six but overcame speech impediments and learned to throw his own voice.
Winchell first provided the voice for the lipsing Tigger in 1968′s Academy Award winning Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. He last voiced Tigger in the 1999 movie, Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving.
Winchell was also a popular children’s television host and also voiced Gargamel in The Smurfs and Boomer in The Fox and the Hound.
In an interview with the Associated Press in 1988, Winchell said he rememberd his initial visit to Walt Disney studios. “Walt gave me a VIP tour of the studio. I remember people doing voices. I said, ‘Gee, that must be fun.’ And here I am.”
Well, TTFN – ta ta for now, Mr. Winchell.