Dana Wynter

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Dana Wynter
Dana Wynter - 1962.jpg
Wynter in 1962
Dagmar Winter

(1931-06-08)8 June 1931
Berlin, Germany
Died5 May 2011(2011-05-05) (aged 79)
Years active1951–1993
(m. 1956; div. 1981)

Dana Wynter (born Dagmar Winter; 8 June 1931[1][2] – 5 May 2011) was a German-born British actress, who was raised in the United Kingdom and southern Africa. She appeared in film and television for more than 40 years, beginning in the 1950s. Her best-known film performance was in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). A tall, dark, elegant beauty, she played both victim and villain. Her characters both in film and on television sometimes faced horrific dangers which they often did not survive, but she also played scheming, manipulative women on television mysteries and crime procedural dramas.

Early life[edit]

Wynter was born in Berlin, Germany,[3] the daughter of Dr. Peter Winter, a British surgeon of German descent, and his wife Jutta Oarda, a native of Hungary.

She grew up in Britain.[3] When she was 16, her father visited friends in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe today), fell in love with the country, and brought his daughter and her stepmother to live with him there.[3]

Dana Wynter (as she called herself and pronounced Donna)[citation needed] later enrolled at South Africa's Rhodes University in 1949. She studied medicine while also pursuing theatre, playing the blind girl in a school production of Through a Glass Darkly, a role in which she said she had been "terrible".[3] After a year of studies, she returned to Britain and turned to acting.[3]


British films[edit]

Wynter began her cinema career at age 20 in 1951, playing small roles, often uncredited, in British films. One such was Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951) in which other future leading ladies, Kay Kendall, Diana Dors, and Joan Collins played similarly small roles. She was appearing in the play Hammersmith when an American agent told her he wanted to represent her. She was again uncredited when she played Morgan Le Fay's servant in the MGM film Knights of the Round Table (1953).

Wynter left for New York on 5 November 1953, Guy Fawkes Day (which commemorates a failed attempt in 1605 to blow up Parliament). "There were all sorts of fireworks going off," she later told an interviewer, "and I couldn't help thinking it was a fitting send-off for my departure to the New World."[3]

New York[edit]

Wynter had more success in New York than in London. She appeared on the stage and on TV, where she had leading roles in Robert Montgomery Presents (1953), Suspense (1954), Studio One (1955), a 1963 episode of The Virginian ("If You Have Tears"), and a 1965 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour ("An Unlocked Window"), which won an Edgar Award.[citation needed]

20th Century Fox[edit]

She moved to Hollywood, where in 1955 she was placed under contract by 20th Century Fox. In that same year, she won the Golden Globe award for Most Promising Newcomer, a title she shared with Anita Ekberg and Victoria Shaw. She graduated to playing major roles in major films. She co-starred with Kevin McCarthy, Larry Gates, and Carolyn Jones, playing Becky Driscoll in the original film version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).[1]

She starred opposite Robert Taylor in D-Day the Sixth of June (1956), alongside Rock Hudson and Sidney Poitier in Something of Value (1957), Mel Ferrer in Fräulein (1958), Robert Wagner in In Love and War (1958), James Cagney and Don Murray in Shake Hands with the Devil (1959) and the last of her 20th Century Fox contract roles opposite Kenneth More in Sink the Bismarck! (1960).


She then starred opposite Danny Kaye in On the Double (1961), and George C. Scott in The List of Adrian Messenger (1963).

In shooting two films in Ireland, she made a second home there with her husband, Hollywood divorce lawyer Greg Bautzer. Over the following two decades, she guest-starred in dozens of television series, including the title character in several Wagon Train episodes, such as "The Barbara Lindquist Story", and in occasional roles in films such as Airport (1970). She appeared as various British women in the ABC television series Twelve O'Clock High (1964–66).

In 1966–67, she co-starred with Robert Lansing (who had been the original star of Twelve O'Clock High) on The Man Who Never Was, but the series lasted only one season. She guest-starred in 1968 in The Invaders in the episode "The Captive", and in 1969, on the second version of The Donald O'Connor Show. On Get Smart, The Rockford Files, and Hart to Hart, she played beautiful, upper-class schemers and villains.

Later career[edit]

She appeared in the Irish soap opera, Bracken (1978–80). In 1993, she returned to television to play Raymond Burr's wife in The Return of Ironside.

Personal life[edit]

Dana Wynter with Greg Bautzer (1959)
Dana Wynter with her son Mark (1963)

In 1956, Wynter married celebrity divorce lawyer Greg Bautzer: they divorced in 1981. Bautzer and she had one child: Mark Ragan Bautzer, born on 29 January 1960. Wynter, once referred to as Hollywood's "oasis of elegance", divided her time between her homes in California and Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland. An anti-apartheid advocate, she refused to open a performance center in South Africa because she discovered that black and white children would have to attend on alternate days.[4] She also planned to make a film criticising the policy, which was to have been written by an American and filmed in Australia.[citation needed]

In the late 1980s, Wynter authored the column "Grassroots" for The Guardian newspaper in London.[5] Writing in both Ireland and California, her works concentrated mainly on life in both locations leading her to use the titles Irish Eyes and California Eyes for a number of her publications.[6][7]

In July 2008 Wynter was involved in a legal dispute over the proceeds of the sale of a €125,000 Paul Henry painting, Evening on Achill Sound. The painting, which hung in the family home in County Wicklow, was said to have been bought for her in 1996 by her son as a gift.[8] The dispute was resolved in the High Court in 2009.[9]


Wynter died on 5 May 2011 from congestive heart failure at the Ojai Valley Community Hospital's Continuing Care Center; she was 79 years old. She had suffered from heart disease in later years, and was transferred from the hospital's intensive care unit earlier in the day. Her son Mark said she was not expected to survive, and "she stepped off the bus very peacefully."[10]


Year Title Role Notes
1951 Night Without Stars Casino Patron Film debut, Uncredited
1951 White Corridors Marjorie Brewster
1951 Lady Godiva Rides Again Myrtle Shaw
1952 The Woman's Angle Elaine Credited as Dagmar Wynter
1952 The Crimson Pirate Baron Gruda's travelling companion Credited as Dagmar Wynter
1952 It Started in Paradise Barbara, the model Credited as Dagmar Wynter
1953 Knights of the Round Table Morgan Le Fay's Servant Uncredited
1955 The 20th Century-Fox Hour Laura Hunt Episode: "A Portrait of Murder"
1955 The View from Pompey's Head Dinah Blackford Higgins
1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers Becky Driscoll
1956 Colonel March of Scotland Yard Francine Rapport Season 1, Episode 24 "Death in the Dressing Room" - credited as Dagmar Wynter
1956 D-Day the Sixth of June Valerie Russell
1957 Something of Value Peter's Betrothed – Holly
1958 Fräulein Erika Angermann
1958 In Love and War Sue Trumbell
1959 Shake Hands with the Devil Jennifer Curtis
1960 Sink the Bismarck! Second Officer Anne Davis
1961 On the Double Lady Margaret MacKenzie-Smith
1961 Wagon Train Lizabeth Ann Calhoun Episode: "The Lizabeth Ann Calhoun Story"
1962 The Dick Powell Show Barbara Bellamore Episode: "The Great Anatole"
1962 Wagon Train Lisa Raincloud Episode: "The Lisa Raincloud Story"
1963 The Virginian Leona Kelland Episode: "If You Have Tears"
1963 The List of Adrian Messenger Lady Jocelyn Bruttenholm
1964 Twelve O'Clock High Ann Mcrae Episode: "Interlude"
1965 Twelve O'Clock High Lady Catherine Hammet Episode: "The Cry of Fallen Birds"
1965 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Stella Episode: "An Unlocked Window"
1965 The Wild Wild West Lady Beatrice Marquand-Gaynesford Episode: "23 – The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo"
1966 My Three Sons Maggie Episode: "From Maggie with Love "
1966-1967 The Man Who Never Was Eva Wainwright 18 episodes
1967 Dundee and the Culhane Martha 1 episode, "The Widow's Weeds Brief"
1967 Gunsmoke Isabel Townsend Episode 12 "Death Train" (November 27, 1967)
1968 The Invaders Dr. Katherina Serret 1 episode, "The Captive"
1968 If He Hollers, Let Him Go! Ellen Whitlock
1968 Companions in Nightmare Julie Klanton Television film
1969 Get Smart Ann Cameron Episode: " Widow Often Annie"
1969 It Takes a Thief The Contessa del Mundo Episode: " Guess Who's Coming to Rio"
1970 Airport Cindy Bakersfeld
1970 Triangle Olive Millikan
1971 Marcus Welby, M.D. Julie Croft Episode: "False Spring"
1972 Hawaii Five-O Claudine Episode: "The Ninety Second War: Part One"
1973 Santee Valerie
1973 Cannon Dr. Deedra Pace episode "Catch me if you can"
1974 McMillan and Wife Elena Episode: "The Man Without a Face"
1975 Le Sauvage Jessie Coutances
1975 The Lives of Jenny Dolan Andrea Hardesty Television film
1975 Cannon Mrs Hobart episode "Search and destroy"
1978-1982 Bracken Jill Daly 5 episodes
1979 Backstairs at the White House Mrs. Colgate Miniseries
1979 Fantasy Island Mrs. Norma Rawlings Episode: "Goose for the Gander/The Stuntman"
1979 The Love Boat Lillian Smith episode: "Murder on the High Seas/Sounds of Silence/Cyrano de Bricker"
1979 The Rockford Files Princess Irene Rachevsky Episode: "Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs"
1981 Hart to Hart Silvia Van Upton Episode: "Ex-wives Can Be Murder"
1981 Magnum, PI Olivia Ross Episode: "Double Jeopardy"
1982 The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana Queen Elizabeth II Television film
1982 Magnum, PI Velma Troubshaw Episode: "Foiled Again"
1993 The Return of Ironside Katherine Ironside Television film, Final film


Year Award Notes
1956 Golden Globes – Most Promising Newcomer – Female[citation needed] Won with Anita Ekberg and Victoria Shaw


  1. ^ a b "Dana Wynter". The Telegraph. London. 9 May 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  2. ^ Thursby, Keith (8 May 2011). "Dana Wynter dies at 80; actress in 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Weaver, Tom (2001). I Was a Monster Movie Maker. McFarland. p. 294. ISBN 978-0-7864-1000-2.
  4. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, 9 June 1971
  5. ^ Dana Wynter, "Grassroots: The pheasant who came to dinner,",The Guardian (London), 25 January 1986
  6. ^ "Poor little shepherd who's lost his way ... baa baa baa" The Guardian (London), 14 November 1987.
  7. ^ "Going west/Dana Wynter who has lived in California for 25 years, finds the place a nightmare", The Guardian (London), 12 January 1989.
  8. ^ "Former Hollywood star takes case in dispute over painting", The Irish Times (Dublin), 10 July 2008
  9. ^ "Dispute between Killybegs businessman and Hollywood actress settled", Donegal Democrat, 16 July 2009.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-09. Retrieved 2011-05-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), Ojai Valley News Blog

External links[edit]