Voices Behind Tigger, Piglet Die

A sad couple of days for Winnie the Pooh fans, as the men who did the voices of Piglet and Tigger both died over the weekend.

Voices behind Tigger, Piglet die

The two actors who provided the voices of Tigger and Piglet in the Winnie the Pooh films have died within a day of each other. Paul Winchell, the voice of Tigger, died Friday morning in his sleep at his home in California. John Fiedler, the voice of Piglet, passed away on Saturday.

Winchell had a long career as a master ventriloquist, inventor and children’s TV host, but he may be best known for his work as the friendly tiger in the animated versions of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books. Winchell, who gave Tigger the trademark lisp, voiced him from 1968 to 1999. The 82-year-old was also the voice of other animated characters for Disney and Hanna-Barbera, including the character of Gargamel in The Smurfs. He brought dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff to life on television.

Winchell also held 30 patents, including one for an artificial heart, a disposable razor and a flameless cigarette lighter. He donated his early artificial heart to the University of Utah for research. Dr. Robert Jarvik and other researchers at the university went on to construct the first artificial heart implanted into humans.

John Fiedler began his stage career in New York after serving in the Navy during the Second World War. He was a supporting actor, performing alongside the likes of Sidney Poitier on Broadway, John Wayne in Hollywood and Bob Newhart on television. Fiedler appeared in films such as 12 Angry Men, The Odd Couple, True Grit and Sharkey’s Machine. He was a cast member on the TV shows Buffalo Bill. and The Bob Newhart Show.

Fiedler’s naturally high-pitched voice won him the role of the anxiety-ridden Piglet in 1968. He continued in the role throughout his life, playing in the recently released Pooh’s Heffalump Movie.

A bizarre coincidence, although men in their 80’s often die.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jay says:

    I love the way you put it in that last sentence. I actually applauded.

  2. Anderson says:

    Family lore has it that my sister cried when Walt Disney died, because she thought there would be no more Mary Poppins any more.

    Sorry to see Piglet and Tigger go. My wife assures me that I’m Eeyore, however, so at least one character lives on.

  3. Bill K says:

    One wonders if they shared a Jefferson/Adams relationship:

    “Piglet lives…”

  4. McGehee says:

    Fiedler also played a crazed mass-murderer on an episode of the original Star Trek — though in defense of the casting director, his actual character was possessed by a mass-murdering noncorporeal entity. Still…

    And then there was his guest spot on “Benson” in which the title character, played by Robert Buillaume (for the youngsters out there) said, “I always wondered what happened to the Gerber Baby.”

    John Fiedler was one of those widely recognized character actors that everyone remembers but few knew his name. Hollywood is the poorer for his loss.

  5. McGehee says:

    Buillaume — should be Guillaume.

    And to think I actually did correct something in that comment — just not that.

  6. Dan says:

    Another coincidence along those lines was the deaths on consecutive days of McLean Stevenson and Roger Bowen, aka Lt Col Henry Blake, MASH television and movie, respectively, Feb 15 and Feb 16 1996, respectively.