Paul Winchell (December 21, 1922 – June 24, 2005) was an American ventriloquist, comedian, actor, voice actor, humanitarian and inventor. Winchell became the first person to build and patent a mechanical artificial heart, implantable in the chest cavity (US Patent #3097366). He has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in television.
Winchell was born Paul Wilchinsky in New York City on December 21, 1922 to Solomon Wilchinsky and Clara Fuchs. His father was a tailor. Winchell’s initial ambition was to become a doctor, but the Depression wiped out any chance of his family’s ability to afford medical school tuition.
Winchell accepted and became a professional at age 14.
Winchell’s first show as a ventriloquist was on radio with Jerry Mahoney in 1943. Winchell’s best-known ventriloquist dummies were Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff.
Winchell developed over 30 patents in his lifetime. He invented an artificial heart with the assistance of Dr. Henry Heimlich, the inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver.
For Disney, Winchell was best known for voicing the character Tigger in Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh films, and won a Grammy Award for his performance in Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too.
Read more & watch the video: