Debra Winger (born May 16, 1955) is an Academy Award-nominated
Debra was born Mary Debra Winger in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, the daughter of Ruth (née Felder), an office manager, and Robert Winger, a meat packer. In the early 1970s, she spent several months at Beit Zera, a kibbutz in Israel. Debra Winger has stated publicly and with amusement that the Internet has a growing "snowball" of claims that she had been part of a kibbutz in Israel, whereas she says she was merely on a typical Israeli youth program that visited the kibbutz. After returning to the United States, she was involved in an automobile accident and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage as a result. She was left partially paralyzed and blind for ten months, although she was initially 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.
Winger's first acting role was as "Debbie" in the 1976 sexploitation film Slumber Party '57. Debra Winger's next role was as Diana Prince's younger sister Drusilla (Wonder Girl) in the Wonder Woman television series. Debra got her first starring role in Urban Cowboy in 1980, opposite John Travolta, for which she received a BAFTA award nomination. In 1982, she co-starred with Nick Nolte in Cannery Row and opposite Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Winger's acting work has received critical acclaim. Debra was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress twice more: for Terms of Endearment in 1983, and for Shadowlands 1993, for which she also received her second BAFTA award nomination. Debra was originally cast in the lead role in A League of their Own but dropped out and was replaced by Geena Davis.
In 1995, Debra turned 40 and began a hiatus from the film industry, during which she spent a semester as a teaching fellow at Harvard University. In 2001, a critically acclaimed documentary film titled Searching for Debra Winger was made by Rosanna Arquette and released in 2002 after Debra returned to performing. Other films include Legal Eagles, Made in Heaven, Everybody Wins, The Sheltering Sky, Leap of Faith, Black Widow, Betrayed, Wilder Napalm, A Dangerous Woman and Sometimes in April. She earned an Emmy Award nomination for her title role in the television film Dawn Anna in 2005, directed by her second husband, Arliss Howard.
In 1995, Debra performed 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. The performance was originally broadcast on Turner Network Television (TNT), and issued on CD and video in 1996.
In 2008, Debra wrote a book based on her personal recollections titled "Undiscovered." In 2008, she also got very positive reviews as Anne Hathaway's estranged mother in Rachel Getting Married.
In 1983, she dated Bob Kerrey, who was the then-Governor of Nebraska, while filming Terms of Endearment in Lincoln, Nebraska. From 1986 to 1990, Debra Winger was married to actor Timothy Hutton, her first son Noah Hutton was born in 1987, and since 1996 has been married to actor Arliss Howard. Her second son Gideon Babe Howard (Babe) was born in 1997.
This Debra Winger Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub