David Winters (choreographer)

David Winters (choreographer)
David Winters

Winters in 1967's Movin' With Nancy
Born David Weizer
April 5, 1939 (1939-04-05) (age 72)
London, England
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
6 Emmy Nominations

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



Early life and stage career

Winters was born David Weizer in London, England, the son of 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 a child, appearing in over a hundred various television roles and commercials including Rock,Rock,Rock![3] before appearing as Baby John in the original Broadway production of West Side Story, he was one of only three Broadway cast members to be cast in the film version.[4][5]

Following his role in West Side Story, Winters played the role of "Yonkers" in Gypsy.[6]


Video cover for the 1976 film A Star Is Born showing its stars Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.
David Winters' choreographed Barbra Streisand in her 1976 film A Star Is Born.

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 become widely known for the 1980s song "Mickey" and 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 went on to appear as a regular singer/dancer and choreographer on Hullabaloo (1965) expanding his previous role on the earlier Shindig! (1964).[10] Under Eugene Louis Facciuto (aka Luigi), Winters was in dance class with Elliott Gould. Additionally, Winters taught dance to world famous actors, such as Ann-Margret, Raquel Welch and Elvis Presley. In addition to a credit as guest star on the 1967 Nancy Sinatra special Movin' With Nancy, the special also featured his choreography and dancing. This project earned him his first Emmy Award nomination. Winters would later team up with regular Hullabaloo director Steve Binder to choreograph dance numbers for the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.

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 Presley's films.

In addition to dancing, Winters also choreographed many major films, including four Elvis Presley films[11][12][13][14] and later, Barbra Streisand's A Star Is Born (1976).[15][16] Winters often choreographed the productions in which he danced. Winters was nominated for a Special Achievement in Choreography Emmy in 1967, which was unusual, in that choreography was not a category that year. In addition to the Nancy Sinatra special, Winters choreographed and directed two episodes of The Monkees.[17] That show is sometimes considered to have launched the music video as a promotional device. In any case, former Monkee Michael Nesmith went on to be a pioneer in American music videos.[18]

In 1970, Winters teamed up with Raquel Welch with Tom Jones, John Wayne, and Bob Hope for the multi million-dollar TV special Raquel!.[19] Now seen as a classic '70s timepiece, featuring pop-culture icons of the time, the song and dance extravaganza was filmed around the world - from Paris, London to Mexico. 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 choreograhphed the '70s roller disco cult classic "Roller Boogie".[20]


In television's early years, Winters appeared in several television episodes, including; The Milton Berle Show, Perry Mason, Suspense, Shindig, Hullabaloo, Lux Video Theatre as well as appearing in some of the specials as a dancer. He was interviewed and appears in the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat, discussing his two year affair with Linda Lovelace. He also made an appearance in Linda Lovelace for President.[21][22] Other feature films in which Winters has appeared include The Last Horror Film (1982), Welcome 2 Ibiza (2002), and Blackbeard (2006).


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. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (1973), as well as the film version of the successful Alice Cooper tour Welcome to my Nightmare (he also served as producer).[23] 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 went on to win numerous awards including the Paris Film Festival Award, the Los Angeles Golden Scroll Award and the Sitges Film Festival Award.[24]

Winters' 1986 film Thrashin' remains a seminal piece of work in the board sport industry two decades after its initial release.[25] Mystery Science Theater 3000 chose Winter's 1988 film Space Mutiny as their 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.[26][27]


David's production career began in 1966, when he co-produced the Lucy in London TV special starring Lucille Ball (Lucy was also the Executive Producer of the special), Anthony Newley and the Dave Clark Five and that was sponsored by Monsanto Company.

Winters and Newman on set

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 co-starring Mario Andretti, Kirk Douglas, Hugh Downs, Dean Martin, Cesar Romero, Dick Smothers and many others. Coca-Cola sponsored the show.

In the 1970s, in addition to the Raquel Welch special, Winters won a Peabody Award for producing the 1972 NBC special The Timex All Star Swing Festival.[28] In 1975, he produced the soft-core film Linda Lovelace for President[29][30] and Young Lady Chatterly. Winter's two-year affair with Lovelace has been linked to her desire for a Vegas career.[21][22] 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
Presented by Charleston - Worldfest
Location Charleston, SC
Country USA
First awarded 1961
Last awarded 2008
Official website http://www.worldfest.org/

1986 was a turning point for Winters.

After being over-ruled 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 the unlikely film paring of Glenn Ford, in his last film role, with that of an adult film actress Traci Lords.[34]

In 1994, David Winters cast Pamela Anderson in her first starring role in Raw Justice also known as Good Cop, Bad Cop, a film produced by Winters in which she costarred with Stacy Keach, David Keith and Airplane! star Robert Hays. The film won the Bronze Award at the Worldfest-Charleston in the category for dramatic theatrical films under the title Good Cop, Bad Cop. The notable cast was the focus of many reviewers. [35] [36]

The Winters' comedy, Welcome 2 Ibiza (2002), won the Bangkok Film Festival Audience Award in November 2002.

Winters' Production Companies

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 1999 Winters and his British business partner Patrick Meehan took their Equator Films public,[37] in 2004 that company purchased HandMade Films.[38] His current American production entity is known as Alpha Beta Films International.

In Thailand, Winters is currently building a large movie studio with acclaimed film director Oliver Stone which has been dubbed by the press Ollywood.[39][40][41][42]


  • Winters admits on his website, that he crashed Sal Mineo's car while staying on the West Coast during the filming of West Side Story.[43]
  • Winters came forward with alternate theories about the death of his friend David Carradine[44]
  • 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".[45][46]

Selected filmography





Awards and nominations

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 (1971 TV program)
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. "David Winters". Film Directors: A Complete Guide. Toris Von Wolfe, Vera Anderson. Carson City, NV: Lone Eagle Productions, Inc.. p. 427. ISBN 978-0-943728-17-9. 
  2. ^ a b "David Winters Biography (1939-)". filmreference.com. http://www.filmreference.com/film/33/David-Winters.html. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  3. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049684/
  4. ^ Delson, Jane. "David Winters Sees New Global Opportunities for Thailand’s Film Industry". Daria!. p. 87. http://www.dariamagazine.com/art_film_music_fashion/art_film_music5_2.asp. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  5. ^ Nichols, Peter M.. "West Side Story". The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made. A. O. Scott, Vincent Canby. Macmillan. p. 1098. ISBN 978-0-312-32611-1. 
  6. ^ ""Gypsy" on Sondheim.com.". 2008=10=07. http://www.sondheim.com/shows/gypsy/. 
  7. ^ Wharton, David (1999-12-14). "'Shindig!' Tapes Bring 1960s Rock Back to Life". Los Angeles Times (bobbysherman.com). http://www.bobbysherman.com/shinart.htm. 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 9780452285712. http://books.google.com/books?id=86BIjk6soNUC. 
  10. ^ "Hullabaloo" at TV.com
  11. ^ Viva Las Vegas at the TCM Movie Database (TCMDb)
  12. ^ TCMDb Easy Come, Easy Go
  13. ^ TCMDb Girl Happy
  14. ^ TCMDb Tickle Me
  15. ^ Nickens, Christopher. "A Star is Born". The Films of Barbra Streisand. Swensen, Karen. Citadel Press. pp. p132. ISBN 978-0-8065-1954-8. 
  16. ^ Star is born at IMDB
  17. ^ Lefcowitz, Eric. Monkees Tale. Last Gasp. pp. pp94–95. ISBN 978-0-86719-378-7. 
  18. ^ Denisoff, R. Serge. Inside MTV. Transaction Publishers. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-88738-864-4. 
  19. ^ Brown, Les. "Raquel!". Television: The Business Behind the Box. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. pp. 187, 188. ISBN 978-0-15-688440-2. 
  20. ^ Willis, John. John Willis' Screen World. New York, NY: Crown. pp. pp191. http://books.google.com/books?id=HEUZAQAAIAAJ&q=david+winters+roller+boogie&dq=david+winters+roller+boogie&hl=en&ei=w2qOTPK7IsOqlAfo1vjmAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CEAQ6AEwBA.  v 31, 1980
  21. ^ a b Lovelace,, Linda. "Section 9, David Winters, Mel Mandel, Marilyn Chambers ch20"". Ordeal. Citadel Press. pp. 217, 231.. ISBN 978-0-8065-2774-1. 
  22. ^ a b McNeil, Leggs. The other Hollywood: the uncensored oral history of the porn film industry,. Jennifer Osborne, and Peter Pavia. New York: Regan Books. pp. p112.. ISBN 978-0-06-009659-5. 
  23. ^ Ormstein, Bill, "Winters-Rosen Triple Budgets", The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Nov, 1970: p.1
  24. ^ List of winners (in spanish) of Sitges awards. p28
  25. ^ Transworld Media (2002-02). "The Hollywood Grind". http://business.transworld.net/2003/02/. Retrieved 2008-10-01. "Hollywood’s previous interpretations of skateboarders in legendary 80s films Thrashin’ and Gleaming the Cube" 
  26. ^ Muir, John Kenneth. "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. 
  27. ^ "“The MST3K DVD List”". Satellite News. http://www.mst3kinfo.com/satnews/dvds/index.html. Retrieved 2006-08-21. 
  28. ^ Peabody winners book
  29. ^ Linda Lovelace for President" review in New York Press, April 12, 2000[dead link]
  30. ^ Weldon, Michael J.. "Linda Lovelace for President". The Psychotronic Video Guide. St. Martin's Press. pp. p334. ISBN 978-0-312-13149-4. 
  31. ^ Adrahtas, Thomas. A Lifetime to Get Here: Diana Ross: the American Dreamgirl. Adrahtas, Tom. Bloomington, IN:: AuthorHouse. p. 167. ISBN 978-1-4259-7140-3. 
  32. ^ Winters, David (1986)."Audio Commentary Track", Thrashin,DVD, MGM Home Video
  33. ^ Tyner, Adam (5 August 1993). "Thrashin'". http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/7178/thrashin/#supplements. Retrieved 2008-09-29. "something that (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.. "Raw Nerve". Variety and Daily variety television reviews. New York: Garland. pp. 29, May, 1991. ISBN 978-0-8240-3796-3. 
  35. ^ http://pro.imdb.com/title/tt0110948/
  36. ^ http://pro.imdb.com/name/nm0000097/
  37. ^ Thaper, Neil (1999-07-18). "AIM newcomer set for big things after UK acquisition" (print). The Mail (London): p. 11. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/. Retrieved 2008-10-07. "...Equater's two biggest share holders are David Winters and Patrick Meehan" 
  38. ^ "HandMade plc". Financial Times. http://markets.ft.com/ft/tearsheets/businessProfile.asp?s=UK:HMF. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  39. ^ Walden, Celia, "Stone's Ollywood", Chatham, Kent , Telegraph.co.UK: 14 December 2007
  40. ^ Who is David Winters?
  41. ^ Oliver Stone - Stone's Hollywood Plans for Thailand
  42. ^ Stone to build studio in Thailand
  43. ^ "Fellow Rebel". 2008-10-07. http://www.davidwinters.net/archives2.htm. 
  44. ^ "Last days of David Carradine". Maxim. http://www.maxim.com/movies/articles/84030/last-days-david-carradine.htm. Retrieved May 16, 2011. 
  45. ^ "MST3K: Space Mutiny Eccentric Cinema, Winner EW Best of Web 2007". http://www.eccentric-cinema.com/cult_movies/space_mutiny.htm. 
  46. ^ "Entertainment Weekly Best of the web 2007". http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20165619_20165621_20167518,00.html. 

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