Debra Winger Biography

Since her stunning arrival on the film scene in Urban Cowboy, Debra Winger has long been acknowledged as one of the screen’s finest actresses. Her performances in An Officer and A Gentleman, Terms of Endearment and Shadowlands brought her Best Actress Academy Award® nominations.

She appeared in a remarkable variety of films in her early career with acclaimed performances in Cannery Row, Mike’s Murder, Leap of Faith, Forget Paris and receiving a Golden Globe nomination for A Dangerous Woman. She worked with some of the great directors of the age, such as Bernardo Bertolucci in The Sheltering Sky and Costa Gavras in Betrayed. Winger’s decision to step away from film performance in the 1990?s resulted in the birth of her second son, as well as stage performances with Michael Tilson-Thomas and the New World Symphony in a composition based on The Diary of Anne Frank, and acclaimed work in How I Learned to Drive and Ivanov at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she also managed a fellowship, teaching The Literature of Social Reflection for Robert Coles at Harvard University. Her absence from the screen also provided the inspiration for Rosanna Arquette’s celebrated 2003 documentary, “Searching for Debra Winger.” This “search” found Winger in the new century with a role in Arliss Howard’s film of Larry Brown’s story collection, Big Bad Love, which she also produced, and television appearances in the film Dawn Anna, which accorded her an Emmy nomination, and the HBO series, “In Treatment.”

Long active in social issues, Winger sits on the board of the Tahirih Justice Center and works for several public health organizations. She consulted creatively on the Academy Award nominated documentary Gasland and is an advocate for sustainable farming and veteran’s affairs around her home in upstate New York.