David Winters (choreographer)

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This article is about the actor, director, producer, choreographer, and dancer. For other persons of that name, see David Winters.
David Winters
David Winters Paul Neuman on set Wheel.jpg
Winters and Paul Newman on set
Born David Weizer
(1939-04-05) April 5, 1939 (age 77)
London, England, United Kingdom
Other names Maria Dante
Occupation Producer, director, actor, screenwriter, choreographer, dancer
Years active 1954–present
Awards Christopher Award 1972
Peabody Award 1972
Sitges Film Festival Award 1982 Best International Film: The Last Horror Film (Director)
Paris Film Festival Award 1982
2ND Mumbai International FICTS Festival 2007
Golden Scroll Award 1982
Bangkok Film Festival 2002
Houston Film Festival
Charleston Film Festival
Star Entertainment Award
3 World Television Awards
2 Emmy Nominations
Kids Choice Award winner
Website davidwinters.net

David Winters (born April 5, 1939 in London) is an English-born American actor, dancer, choreographer, producer, director and screenwriter.[1] Winters participated in, directed and produced over 400 television series, television specials, and motion pictures. Of these, he has directed, produced and distributed over 50 films.


Early life and stage career[edit]

Winters was born David Weizer in London, England, the son of Jewish parents Sadie and Samuel Weizer.[2] His family relocated to the United States in 1953. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1956.[2] Winters began acting as a child, appearing in over 100 television roles and commercials including Rock,Rock,Rock![3] before appearing as Baby John in the original Broadway production of West Side Story.[4] He was one of only three members to be cast in the film version (as A-Rab, Baby John's best friend).[5][6] Following his role in West Side Story, Winters played "Yonkers" in Gypsy.[4]


Winters started teaching dance and his students included Teri Garr, who would go on to find success as an Academy Award-nominated actress. and Antonia Basilotta (better known as Toni Basil), who would also go on to be a noted choreographer (and became widely known for the 1980s song "Mickey"). Winters would give his students acting and dancing roles in most of the movies and projects he choreographed and they would become known as David Winters and his dancers.[7][8][9]

Winters and Nancy Sinatra in Movin' with Nancy (1967)

Winters went on to appear as a regular singer/dancer and choreographer on the hit variety series Hullabaloo (1965), expanding his previous role on the earlier Shindig! (1964).[10] Under Luigi, he was in dance class with Elliott Gould. He guest-starred on the 1967 Nancy Sinatra special Movin' with Nancy, which featured his choreography and dancing, and which earned him his first Emmy Award nomination. He would later team up with regular Hullabaloo director Steve Binder to choreograph dance numbers for the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.[11]

A Letter from MGM President Joe Pasternak and Elvis Presley to David Winters thanking him for his choreography on Girl Happy.
David Winters' choreography and dancers have contributed significantly to the success of a number of Elvis Presley's films.

Winters also choreographed many major films, including four Elvis Presley movies.[12][13][14][15] and later, Barbra Streisand's version of A Star Is Born (1976).[16][17]

Winters often choreographed the productions in which he danced. He was nominated for a Special Achievement in Choreography Emmy in 1967, which was unusual in that choreography was not a category that year. He choreographed and directed two episodes of The Monkees.[18] Former Monkee Michael Nesmith went on to be a pioneer in American music videos.[19]

In 1970 Winters teamed up with Raquel Welch and Tom Jones, John Wayne, and Bob Hope for Raquel!, a television special.[20] Bob Mackie designed costumes in production numbers of songs from the era, and guest performances, including John Wayne and Bob Hope in the wild West, made the show well received by critics. Winters also choreographed the 1970s roller disco cult classic Roller Boogie.[21]


Winters appeared in episodes of several popular dramatic and variety shows. In 1963 he guest starred on Perry Mason as title character and murder victim Chick Montana in "The Case of the Devious Delinquent". He appeared on The Milton Berle Show, Suspense, Shindig!, Hullabaloo and Lux Video Theatre as well as in specials as a dancer.[11] He was interviewed and appears in the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat, discussing his two year-affair with porn actress Linda Lovelace. He also made an appearance in Linda Lovelace for President.[22][23] Other feature films in which Winters has appeared include The Last Horror Film (1982), Welcome 2 Ibiza (2002) and Blackbeard (2006).[11]


In the late 1960s Winters began directing, beginning with two episodes of The Monkees. He also directed Paul Newman in Once Upon a Wheel, Kirk Douglas in the television adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as well as the film version of the successful Alice Cooper tour Welcome to my Nightmare (he also served as producer).[24] In the 1980s he produced, directed, wrote and co-starred in The Last Horror Film (1982), which he filmed during the Cannes Film Festival and which went on to win numerous awards including the Paris Film Festival Award, the Los Angeles Golden Scroll Award and the Sitges Film Festival Award.[25]

Winters' 1986 film Thrashin' remains a seminal piece of work in the board sport industry two decades after its initial release.[26] Mystery Science Theater 3000 chose Winters' 1988 film Space Mutiny as its target for a November 1997 episode. It is available in that series' home video collection (Volume 4), and runs ten minutes shorter than the original due to the deletion of some Battlestar Galactica footage.[27][28]


Winters' producing career began in 1966, when he co-produced Lucy in London, starring Lucille Ball (who was also the executive producer), Anthony Newley and the Dave Clark Five and that was sponsored by Monsanto Company. In 1971 Winters directed and produced Once Upon a Wheel, an ABC television documentary on the history of auto racing starring and hosted by Paul Newman and co-starring Mario Andretti, Kirk Douglas, Hugh Downs, Dean Martin, Cesar Romero, Dick Smothers and many others. Coca-Cola sponsored the show.[11]

In the 1970s, he won a Peabody Award for producing the 1972 NBC special The Timex All Star Swing Festival.[29] In 1975 he produced the soft-core film Linda Lovelace for President[30] and Young Lady Chatterly. Winters' two-year affair with Lovelace has been linked to her desire for a Vegas career.[22][23] In 1978, in a jam-packed Universal Amphitheatre (now the Gibson Amphitheatre), fans of Diana Ross were treated to a concert spectacular, conceived and executed by Winters.[31]

Theatrical Feature Film
Bronze Award
[April 16–25, 2009]
Awarded for Dramatic
Location Charleston, South Carolina
Country USA
Presented by Charleston – Worldfest
First awarded 1961
Last awarded 2008
Official website http://www.worldfest.org/

1986 was a turning point for Winters. After being overruled on a casting decision for Thrashin', Winters made the professional decision to control all aspects of future projects. Josh Brolin was ultimately cast, but Winters' choice was a pre-21 Jump Street Johnny Depp.[32][33]

The 1991 film Raw Nerve featured Glenn Ford (in his last film role) with Jan-Michael Vincent, Sandahl Bergman and former porn actress Traci Lords.[34]

In 1994 Winters cast Stacy Keach, David Keith, Robert Hays, and Pamela Anderson in Raw Justice. The film, under the alternate title Good Cop, Bad Cop, won the Bronze Award at the Worldfest-Charleston in the category for dramatic theatrical films.[35] Winters' comedy Welcome 2 Ibiza (2002) won the Bangkok Film Festival Audience Award in November 2002.[citation needed]

Winters' production companies[edit]

Action International Pictures was organized by Winters with partners David A. Prior and Peter Yuval in 1986, the same year as the Thrashin' incident. Winters bought out his partners in AIP in 1992 and re-branded it as West Side Studios. In 2004 their Equator Films purchased HandMade Films.[36] His current American production entity is known as Alpha Beta Films International.

In Thailand, Winters is building a large movie studio with acclaimed film director Oliver Stone, which has been dubbed by the press Ollywood.[37][38][39][40]


  • Winters came forward with alternate theories about the death of his friend David Carradine.[41]
  • Eccentric Cinema was quoted as saying about Winters' Space Mutiny:

    "Quite possibly the worst science fiction/space adventure film made in English... Even the horrendously bad Shape of Things to Come (1979) can't aspire to such depths of total putrescence. I speak of the notorious Made-In-South Africa Space Mutiny".[42][43]

Personal Life[edit]

Winters is a Conservative Republican.

Selected filmography[edit]





Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Film or series
1968 Emmy Award Nominated Special Classification of Individual Achievements Movin' with Nancy
1970 Outstanding Achievement in Choreography Ann-Margret: From Hollywood with Love
1971 Best International Sports Documentary Won TV Special Once Upon a Wheel
World Television Festival Award TV Special
1972 Christopher Award Won TV Special Timex All Star Swing Festival (Shared with Burt Rosen, Bernard Rothman, and Jack Wohl)
2002 Bangkok Film Festival Won Audience Award for Best Picture Welcome 2 Ibiza


  1. ^ Singer, Michael; Toris Von Wolfe; Vera Anderson (1987). "David Winters". Film Directors: A Complete Guide. Carson City, Nevada: Lone Eagle Productions, Inc. p. 427. ISBN 978-0-943728-17-9. 
  2. ^ a b "David Winters profile". filmreference.com. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  3. ^ Rock, Rock, Rock at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ a b David Winters at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. ^ Delson, Jane. "David Winters Sees New Global Opportunities for Thailand's Film Industry". Daria!. p. 87. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  6. ^ Nichols, Peter M.; A.O. Scott; Vincent Canby (2004). "West Side Story". The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made. Macmillan. p. 1098. ISBN 978-0-312-32611-1. 
  7. ^ Wharton, David (1999-12-14). "'Shindig!' Tapes Bring 1960s Rock Back to Life". Los Angeles Times. bobbysherman.com. Retrieved 2007-12-21. 
  8. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0935916/
  9. ^ Garr, Teri; Mantel, H. (2006). Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood. Penguin Putnam. ISBN 978-0-452-28571-2. 
  10. ^ Hullabaloo, tv.com; accessed August 12, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d David Winters at the Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ Viva Las Vegas at the TCM Movie Database, tcm.com; accessed August 11, 2015.
  13. ^ TCMDb Easy Come, Easy Go
  14. ^ TCMDb Girl Happy
  15. ^ TCMDb Tickle Me
  16. ^ Nickens, Christopher; Swensen, Karen (2000). "A Star is Born". The Films of Barbra Streisand. Citadel Press. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-8065-1954-8. 
  17. ^ A Star is Born (1976), imdb.com; accessed August 11, 2015.
  18. ^ Lefcowitz, Eric (1990). Monkees Tale. Last Gasp. pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-0-86719-378-7. 
  19. ^ Denisoff, R. Serge (1991). Inside MTV. Transaction Publishers. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-88738-864-4. 
  20. ^ Brown, Les (1971). "Raquel!". Television: The Business Behind the Box. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. pp. 187, 188. ISBN 978-0-15-688440-2. 
  21. ^ Willis, John (1980). John Willis' Screen World. New York: Crown. p. 191.  v 31, 1980
  22. ^ a b Lovelace, Linda; McGrady, Mike (2005). "Section 9, David Winters, Mel Mandel, Marilyn Chambers ch20"". Ordeal. Citadel Press. pp. 217, 231. ISBN 978-0-8065-2774-1. 
  23. ^ a b McNeil, Leggs; Jennifer Osborne; Peter Pavia (2005). The other Hollywood: the uncensored oral history of the porn film industry. New York: Regan Books. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-06-009659-5. 
  24. ^ Ormstein, Bill, "Winters-Rosen Triple Budgets", The Hollywood Reporter, November 17, 1970: pg. 1
  25. ^ List of winners of Sitges Awards (pg. 28), cinemasitges.com; accessed August 12, 2015. (Spanish)
  26. ^ Transworld Media (February 2002). "The Hollywood Grind". Retrieved 2008-10-01. Hollywood's previous interpretations of skateboarders in legendary 80s films Thrashin' and Gleaming the Cube 
  27. ^ Muir, John Kenneth (1999). "In 1997, Mike, Crow and Servo watched Space Mutiny". An Analytical Guide to Television's Battlestar Galactica: An Episode Guide and Analysis of the 1978 Science Fiction Television Series and Its Short Lived Sequel, "Galactica: 1980". McFarland. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-7864-0441-4. 
  28. ^ "The MST3K DVD List". Satellite News. Retrieved 2006-08-21. 
  29. ^ Peabody winners book, peabody.uga.edu; accessed August 12, 2015.
  30. ^ Weldon, Michael J. (1996). "Linda Lovelace for President". The Psychotronic Video Guide. St. Martin's Press. p. 334. ISBN 978-0-312-13149-4. 
  31. ^ Adrahtas, Thomas (2006). A Lifetime to Get Here: Diana Ross: the American Dreamgirl. Adrahtas, Tom. Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorHouse. p. 167. ISBN 978-1-4259-7140-3. 
  32. ^ Winters, David (1986). "Audio Commentary Track", Thrashin, DVD, MGM Home Video
  33. ^ Tyner, Adam (August 5, 1993). "Thrashin'". Retrieved 2008-09-29. ... something [which the cast] found so astonishing that they apparently called Depp's girlfriend in the middle of the commentary to find out if it's actually true. 
  34. ^ Prouty, H.H. (1994). "Raw Nerve". Television reviews. New York: Garland. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-8240-3796-3. 
  35. ^ Good Cop, Bad Cop details, imdb.com; accessed August 15, 2015.
  36. ^ "HandMade plc". Financial Times. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  37. ^ Walden, Celia, "Stone's Ollywood", Chatham, Kent, Telegraph.co.UK: 14 December 2007
  38. ^ Who is David Winters?
  39. ^ Oliver Stone – Stone's Hollywood Plans for Thailand
  40. ^ "Stone to build studio in Thailand" Digital Spy
  41. ^ "Last days of David Carradine". Maxim. Retrieved May 16, 2011. 
  42. ^ "MST3K: Space Mutiny Eccentric Cinema, Winner EW Best of Web 2007". 
  43. ^ "Best of the web 2007". Entertainment Weekly. 

External links[edit]