The public first noticed actress Debra Winger with her portrayal of Wonder Girl in the 1970's television series Wonder Woman. She was later recognized for acting in such films as Terms of Endearment (1983), Shadowlands (1993) and A Dangerous Woman (1993).
Winger, who stands just 5' 4" inches tall and has the measurements of 34B-23-34, was once linked to actor Nick Nolte (1982) and married to actor Timothy Hutton (1986 - 1990). Now the wife of actor Arliss Howard, Winger at one time was connected to senator Robert Kerry from 1983 to 1985.
Having once suffered temporary blindness due to a serious accident, Winger is currently the emissary for Sight Savers International, a British organization that supports deprived countries in the giving of treatment and rehabilitation to aid the blind. On her charity work Winger said, "Through the years I have been asked to do this sort of thing and have always found either the cause, or my passion for it, wanting. This was different. This had a personal note to it. It had to do with sight and the loss of it. It was a subject that went straight to my heart."
Surviving Partial Blindness
Childhood and Family:
On May 16, 1955 Mary Debra Winger was born to grocery distributor Robert and office manager Ruth Winger (died March 19th, 1996). The youngest child of the family, Debra has one older sister named Marla and older brother Marc.
Sixteen-year-old Debra dropped out of high school, moved to Israel and spent three months in the Israeli army. After relocating to the U.S., Debra attended California State University (majored in Criminology and Sociology), then later dropped out and worked for Magic Mountain. While working there Debra was involved in a serious accident in the amusement park that placed her in a coma. Upon awakening, Debra suffered partial paralysis, and blindness in one eye, for several months.
"I was never afraid of failure after that because I think, coming that close to death, you get kissed. With the years the actual experience of course fades, but the flavor of it doesn't. I just had a real sense of what choice do I have but to live fully?" Debra Winger
Winger's marriage to actor Timothy Hutton lasted only four years (1986-1990). During the marriage son Emmanuel Noah Hutton was born on April 29,1987. Three years later Winger met her current husband, actor Arliss Howard. The two married on November 1996 and on June 15, 1997 their son Gideon was born.
"Inside every great marriage is a divorce waiting to happen." Debra Winger.
Winger debuted on television in the 1976 series Wonder Woman, where she played Lynda Carter's kid sister Wonder Girl. Winger then wasted her time playing the part of Debbie in the movie Slumber Party '57 (1977). In 1978 Winger followed up with Thank God It's Friday and French Postcards in 1979.
Urban Cowboy (1980), in which Winger teamed up with talented actor John Travolta, helped her catapult her career. Other well-acted characters surfaced with the highly praised An Officer and a Gentleman (1982, Richard Gere) and the hit Terms of Endearment (1983, Shirley MacLaine) for which Winger was nominated for an Academy Award. After these triumphs, Winger starred in the less popular Mike's Murder (1984), Black Widow (1986) and Betrayed (1988).
During 1990s Winger was cast in several well-received films: Bernardo Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky (1990), Shadowlands (1993), Leap of Faith (1992), Wilder Napalm (1993), A Dangerous Woman (1993), and Forget Paris (1995, co-starring Billy Crystal).
More recent work included Big Bad Love (2001), Radio (2003), Eulogy (2004), TV's movie Dawn Anna (directed by husband Arliss Howard) and well received Sometimes in April.
Known for her careful choosing of films (and turning down prime parts) nearing 50 Winger commented, "I've been trying to think of films that were out in that period with women [characters] my age. What do you do? You wear the polo neck, you have the [face lift] or you play someone's mother. When people say, 'You haven't worked for seven years?' I say, 'Tell me the film I should have done because I'd love to hear about it."
- Tokyo International Film Festival: Best Actress Award, A Dangerous Woman, 1994
- National Society of Film Critics: Best Actress, Terms of Endearment, 1984