Two Cultural Icons Pass Into History

RIP, Paul Winchell and John Fiedler:

Two renowned actors who voiced roles in “Winnie the Pooh” on television and in film have died.

Tigger and Piglet

Paul Winchell, who voiced Tigger, died Friday at 82. John Fiedler, the voice of Piglet, died Saturday. Fiedler was 80.

Winchell started his career as a ventriloquist and eventually brought dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smith to life on television. His debut as the voice of Tigger came with the film short “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day” in 1968.

Fiedler served in the Navy during World War II, then started a stage career in New York. He performed in supporting roles alongside Sidney Poitier on Broadway, John Wayne in Hollywood and Bob Newhart on television. But he was best known for the squeaky voice of the ever-worrying Piglet.

Fiedler’s guest-starring role as Mr. Hengist in an episode of Star Trek was especially memorable. He played a police officer who accused Scotty of committing a murder while on shore leave that Hengist himself had committed. It turned out that Mr. Hengist was just the latest incarnation of an ancient evil whose life stretched back to Earth’s early history. At least one previous incarnation was “Rejak”–“Red Jack”, Jack the Ripper.

Historical note: Hengist was the name of a Saxon chief who, with his brother Horsa, plotted the traitorous slaughter of 300 British noblemen at a banquet around the year 450. The deed is remembered in Welsh history as “The Night of the Long Knives”.

Mr. Hengist

Goodbye, Mr. Hengist

Hearing the voice of Piglet wail, “Die! Die! Everybody die!” is unforgettable.

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