LOS ANGELES -- Jonathan Winters, the cherub-faced comedian whose breakneck improvisations and misfit characters inspired the likes of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, has died. He was 87.Mr. Winters died of natural causes Thursday evening at his Montecito, Calif., home, said Joe Petro III, a longtime friend. He was surrounded by family and friends.Mr. Winters was a pioneer of improvisational stand-up comedy, with an exceptional gift for mimicry, a grab bag of eccentric personalities and a bottomless reservoir of creative energy. Facial contortions, sound effects, tall tales -- all could be used in seconds to get a laugh."Jonathan Winters was the worthy custodian of a sparkling and childish comedic genius. He did God's work. I was lucky 2 know him," Carrey tweeted Friday.On Jack Paar's TV show in 1964, Mr. Winters was handed a foot-long stick and swiftly became a fisherman, violinist, lion tamer, canoeist, U.N. diplomat, bullfighter, flutist, delusional psychiatric patient, British headmaster and Bing Crosby's golf club.A devotee of Groucho Marx and Laurel and Hardy, Winters, with his free-for-all brand of humor, inspired Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Tracey Ullman and Lily Tomlin, among many others. He continued to work almost to the end of his life and to influence new generations of comics.Mr. Winters was born Nov. 11, 1925, in Dayton, Ohio. He served two years in the South Pacific with the Marines, then returned to study at the Dayton Art Institute. After stints as a radio disc jockey and TV host in Ohio in 1950-53, he left for New York and eventually ended up on Parr's show and others. A role on It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World led to other movies, as well as TV.He is survived by two children.