Debra Winger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Debra Winger
Debra Winger and son at Obama inauguration.jpg
Debra Winger at the inauguration of President Obama
BornMary Debra Winger
(1955-05-16) May 16, 1955 (age 58)
Cleveland Heights, Ohio, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s)Timothy Hutton (1986–1990; divorced; 1 child)
Arliss Howard (1996–present; 1 child)
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Debra Winger
Debra Winger and son at Obama inauguration.jpg
Debra Winger at the inauguration of President Obama
BornMary Debra Winger
(1955-05-16) May 16, 1955 (age 58)
Cleveland Heights, Ohio, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s)Timothy Hutton (1986–1990; divorced; 1 child)
Arliss Howard (1996–present; 1 child)

Mary Debra Winger (born May 16, 1955) is an American actress and producer. She gained critical acclaim for her performance in Urban Cowboy in 1980. She then gave Academy Award-nominated performances in An Officer and a Gentleman, Terms of Endearment, and Shadowlands.

She has been nominated for four Golden Globe awards, two BAFTA awards, an Emmy Award, and won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress for Terms of Endearment and the Tokyo International Film Festival Award for Best Actress for A Dangerous Woman. She was also an executive producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Gasland.

Early years[edit]

Winger was born as Mary Debra Winger in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, into an Orthodox Jewish family, to Robert Winger, a meat packer, and Ruth (née Felder), an office manager.[1][2][3] She has stated publicly and with amusement that the Internet has a growing "snowball" of claims that she had volunteered in an Israeli Kibbutz, whereas she was merely on a typical Israeli youth program that visited the kibbutz.[4] After returning to the United States, she was involved in a car accident and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage; as a result, she was left partially paralyzed and blind for ten months, having initially been told that she would never see again. With time on her hands to think about her life, she decided that, if she recovered, she would move to California and become an actress.[5] She later recovered.

Career[edit]

Acting[edit]

Winger's first acting role was as "Debbie" in the 1976 sexploitation film Slumber Party '57.[6] Her next role was as Diana Prince's younger sister Drusilla (Wonder Girl) on the TV show, Wonder Woman. This was followed by a guest role in Season 4 of the TV drama Police Woman in 1978.[7]

Her first starring role was in Thank God It's Friday, followed by her performance in Urban Cowboy in 1980 with John Travolta, for which she received a BAFTA nomination and a pair of Golden Globe nominations (for Best Performance by an Actress and Best New Star). In 1982 she co-starred with Nick Nolte in Cannery Row and with Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress twice more: for Terms of Endearment in 1983 (which was awarded to her co-star, Shirley MacLaine, who played her mother in the film) and for Shadowlands in 1993 for which she also received her second BAFTA nomination. Her performance in A Dangerous Woman earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.[8]

Over the years Winger acquired a reputation for being outspoken and sometimes difficult to work with.[9][10][11] She has expressed her dislike of An Officer and a Gentleman, for which she refused to do any publicity,[11] and several other of her films, and has been dismissive of some of her co-stars and directors. Commenting on her past attitudes, Winger said in 2009, "Most bad behavior comes from insecurity. Even though I loved what I was doing, I didn't always know I could pull it off. (...) I took [my insecurities out] on everybody. But in my defense, I never fought about the size of my trailer or things like that; it was always about the work".[12] When Barbara Walters interviewed Bette Davis in 1986, Davis said "I see a great deal of myself in Debra Winger."

Winger was cast in the lead role in A League of their Own but dropped out and was replaced by Geena Davis. It was later reported that the main reason Winger chose to leave the film was her refusal to work with singer/actress Madonna.[13] Other starring roles during this period included Legal Eagles, Made in Heaven, Everybody Wins, The Sheltering Sky, Leap of Faith, Black Widow, Betrayed, Wilder Napalm and A Dangerous Woman.

In 1995 Winger decided to take a hiatus from acting. In 2002 she said, "I wanted out for years. I got sick of hearing myself say I wanted to quit. It's like opening an interview with 'I hate interviews!' Well, get out! I stopped reading scripts and stopped caring. People said, 'We miss you so much.' But in the last six years, tell me a film that I should have been in. The few I can think of, the actress was so perfect".[14] After making Forget Paris in 1995 she was absent from the screen for six years before returning in 2001 with Big Bad Love, written and directed by her husband, Arliss Howard, and also marking Winger's debut as a producer.[15]

During her film hiatus, Winger had the female lead in the American Repertory Theater's production of Anton Chekhov's play Ivanov from November 1999 to January 2000.[16]

In 2001 a critically acclaimed documentary film titled Searching for Debra Winger was made by Rosanna Arquette and released in 2002 after Winger returned to film acting. She subsequently starred in the films Radio, Eulogy, Sometimes in April and received positive reviews for portraying Anne Hathaway's estranged mother in Rachel Getting Married.[17]

She earned an Emmy Award nomination for her title role in the television film Dawn Anna in 2005, directed by Arliss Howard. In 2010 she returned to television, making a guest appearance as a high school principal in an episode of Law & Order.[18] She also joined the cast of HBO's In Treatment as one of the three patients featured in the third season.[19]

Her latest acting project is a starring role in the upcoming film In the Woods, the first installment of Jennifer Elster's multimedia, experimental film series The Being Experience, planned for multi-platform release in 2013 and 2014, also including: Terrence Howard, Dave Matthews, Rufus Wainwright, Karen Black, Will Shortz, Liya Kebede, Questlove, Famke Janssen, Moby, Gale Harold, Paz de la Huerta, Jorgen Leth, Rosie Perez, Aubrey de Grey, and Alan Cumming.[20]

Other pursuits[edit]

In 1995 Winger performed as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True a musical performance of the popular story at Lincoln Center to benefit the Children's Defense Fund. She also narrated the "Cyclone" during that performance. It was originally broadcast on Turner Broadcasting System, and issued on CD as well as video in 1996.

During her hiatus from the film industry, Winger spent a semester as a teaching fellow at Harvard University. In 2008 Winger wrote a book based on her personal recollections titled Undiscovered.[21] She has shown her support for reconciliation between Arabs and Jews in Israel by visiting the bilingual Hand in Hand schools (Galilee Jewish-Arab School, Gesher al HaWadi School) where, in 2008, she stated she would "dedicate the next bit of my life to these schools".[22]

As 2009 president of the Zurich Film Festival jury, Winger joined other members of the Hollywood film community to speak out against the arrest and prosecution of director Roman Polanski who was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s, criticizing Switzerland's government for "philistine collusion" in arresting him so many years later, as he was en route to attend the Zurich festival.[23]

In 2010 Debra Winger was co-executive producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary, Gasland.[24] She was also the executive producer of the 2012 documentary Bel Borba Aqui about the life and works of Brazilian graphic artist Bel Borba.[25][26]

Personal life[edit]

Winger's three-year relationship with actor Andrew Rubin ended in 1980.[27] From 1983 to 1985 Winger dated Bob Kerrey, at the time the Governor of Nebraska, whom she met while filming Terms of Endearment in Lincoln, Nebraska.[28]

From 1986 to 1990 she was married to actor Timothy Hutton with whom she had a son, Noah Hutton, a documentary filmmaker born in 1987. The marriage ended in divorce.[29][30]

In 1996 she married actor/director Arliss Howard, whom she met on the set of the film Wilder Napalm. Their son, Gideon Babe Ruth Howard (known as Babe), was born in 1997. She is stepmother to Sam Howard, Arliss' son from his prior marriage.[29][30]

Filmography[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1976Slumber Party '57Debbie
1976–77Wonder WomanDrusilla (Wonder Girl)(3 episodes)
1978Police WomanPhyllis BaxterEpisode: Battered Teachers
1978Thank God It's FridayJennifer
1979French PostcardsMelanie
1979The WarriorsUncredited
1980Urban CowboySissyNominated — BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated — National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
1982Cannery RowSuzy DeSoto
1982An Officer and a GentlemanPaula PokrifkiNominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1983Terms of EndearmentEmma HortonNational Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
1984Mike's MurderBetty Parrish
1986Legal EaglesLaura J. Kelly
1987Black WidowAlexandra 'Alex' Barnes
1987Made in HeavenEmmett Humbird(credited as "Emmett" himself)
1988BetrayedCatherine Weaver
1990Everybody WinsAngela Crispini
1990The Sheltering SkyKit MoresbyNominated — National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
1992Leap of FaithJane Larson
1993Wilder NapalmVida Foudroyant
1993ShadowlandsJoy GreshamNominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated — Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
1993A Dangerous WomanMartha HorganTokyo International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
1995Forget ParisEllen Andrews Gordon
2001Big Bad LoveMarilyn
2003RadioLinda
2004EulogyAlice Collins
2005Sometimes in AprilPrudence Bushnell
2005Dawn AnnaDawn Anna TownsendNominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
2008Rachel Getting MarriedAbbyNominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
Nominated — New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (Shared with co-star Rosemarie DeWitt)
2010Law & OrderMrs. WoodsideEpisode: "Boy on Fire"
2010In TreatmentFrances7 episodes
2012Lola VersusRobin

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Debra Winger Biography". filmreference. Retrieved January 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ Jan Hoffman (January 9, 1994). "FILM; Debra Winger: Caught on a Winter Afternoon". The New York Times. p. 211. Retrieved December 27, 2009. 
  3. ^ Naomi Pfefferman (March 7, 2002). "'Big Bad' Debra". The Jewish Journal. Retrieved December 27, 2009. 
  4. ^ Leonard Lopate Show radio interview on 6/10/08
  5. ^ Farber, Stephen (July 6, 1986). "Where There's Smoke, There's A Fiery Actress Named Debra Winger". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  6. ^ Slumber Party '57 (1976) – IMDb
  7. ^ Police Woman Season 4 Episode 18 – IMDb
  8. ^ "Debra Winger bio". American Repertory Theater. Retrieved October 8, 2009. 
  9. ^ Debra Winger : Dangerous Woman, Time, article by Richard Corliss and Elizabeth L. Bland, January 24, 1994
  10. ^ Debra Winger: a star is re-born, Daily Telegraph, December 19, 2008
  11. ^ a b WHERE THERE'S SMOKE, THERE'S A FIERY ACTRESS NAMED DEBRA WINGER, The New York Times, article by Stephen Farber, July 6, 1986
  12. ^ Back where she belongs: How Officer and A Gentleman star Debra Winger returned to the silver screen, The Daily Mail, January 16, 2009
  13. ^ Penny Marshall Interview
  14. ^ Does Debra Winger Still Have Legs?, New York, article by Holly Millea, February 25, 2002
  15. ^ Wilmington, Michael (March 15, 2002). "'Bad Love' portrays a writer's anguish". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Ivanov". Experience the A.R.T. American Repertory Theater. Retrieved October 8, 2009. 
  17. ^ Scott, A. O. (October 3, 2008). "Out of Rehab, Wreaking Havoc". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ "Law & Order "Boy on Fire" Episode Information". All Things Law and Order. blog. January 12, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  19. ^ Fretts, Bruce (October 22, 2010). "Cheers & Jeers: Debra Winger Gets the VIP Treatment". TVGuide.com. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  20. ^ Matheson, Whitney, "Moby, Questlove, others endure puzzling 'Experience'", "USA TODAY", June 17, 2013
  21. ^ Debra Winger, Actor—Blue Flower Arts: An Agency Representing Poets, Authors and Speakers
  22. ^ Kupfer, Ruta (March 28, 2008). "Weighing their words with care". Ha'aretz (reprinted in Hand in Hand: Learning Together Living Together). Retrieved October 8, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Hollywood Left Bands Together to Fight Polanski Arrest". Fox News Channel. September 29, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  24. ^ Koehler, Robert (January 25, 2010). "''Gasland Movie Review from the Sundance Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  25. ^ Rohter, Larry (September 18, 2012). "Brazil's Pied Piper of Street Art". The New York Times. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Debra Winger". IMDb.com. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  27. ^ Two Sexy 'Urban Cowgirls'—One Called Debra Winger—Give Travolta a Run for His Movie : People.com
  28. ^ "SHORT TAKES : Debra Winger Is Not for Politics". Los Angeles Times. September 12, 1990. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b "The interview: Debra Winger", by Rachel Cooke, The Guardian, column "The Observer", Sunday December 28, 2008. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  30. ^ a b "Debra Winger: The return of a class act", Gaynor Flynn, The Independent, Friday, October 24, 2008. Retrieved June 17, 2010.

External links[edit]