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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 June, 2005, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Disney's Tigger voice dies at 82
Disney's Tigger
Winchell voiced Disney's Tigger from 1968 to 1999
Ventriloquist Paul Winchell, who was the voice of Tigger in Disney's Winnie the Pooh films, has died aged 82.

He was a popular children's TV host in the US, and first voiced Tigger in 1968 in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, which won an Academy Award.

Winchell also voiced Gargamel in The Smurfs and Boomer in The Fox and the Hound, as well as voicing other Disney and Hanna-Barbera productions.

He was also an inventor, patenting an artificial heart in 1963.

His other patents included a disposable razor, a flameless cigarette lighter and an invisible garter belt.

Winchell last performed as Tigger in 1999, in Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving.

Lisp and laugh

For Tigger, he created a slight lisp and laugh, crediting his British wife with Tigger's "TTFN" catchprase - "ta-ta for now", itself coming from BBC radio comedy It's That Man Again.

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

Born in 1922 in New York, Winchell contracted polio aged six but beat speech impediments as he learned to throw his own voice.

In 1988 he told the Associated Press news agency: I first met Walt Disney 25 or 30 years ago. He said, 'We're both in the same business. I use cartoons and you use dummies and we both entertain children.'

"That was long before I started working here. 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."

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