Sunday, June 26, 2005

Does this mean tiggers are extinct?

Cause I have it on pretty good authority that the most wonderful things about tiggers were that he was the only one...

Paul Winchell, a ventriloquist, inventor and children's TV show host best known for creating the lispy voice of Winnie the Pooh's animated friend Tigger, has died. He was 82.

Over six decades, Winchell was a master ventriloquist — bringing dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff to life on television — and an inventor who held 30 patents, including one for an early artificial heart he built in 1963.

But he was perhaps best known for his work as the voice of the lovable tiger in animated versions of A.A. Milne's "Winnie the Pooh" — with his trademark "T-I-double grrrr-R."

Winchell voiced memorable characters in numerous animated features over the years for Disney and Hanna Barbera. He was Gargamel in "The Smurfs," and Boomer in "The Fox and the Hound."

Winchell said he always tried to look for characteristics and idiosyncrasies in the voices he created. For Tigger, he created a slight lisp and a laugh. He credited his wife, who is British, for giving him the inspiration for Tigger's signature phrase: TTFN. TA-TA for now.

In 1974, he earned a Grammy for best children's recording with "The Most Wonderful Things About Tiggers" from the feature "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too."

We'll all miss him, especially that silly old Becca.

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