Fans all across the world wished they were the stunning Debra Winger when Naval Officer Zack Mayo took factory worker Paula into his arms and whisked her from her job in a classic love story.
For daydreaming fans, the iconic moment from the romantic classic An Officer and a Gentleman—where Richard Gere portrayed Officer Zack Mayo, the dashing hero in navy whites—became the standard for love stories.
Winger, 67, is still stunning today. Winger has shared pictures of herself on Instagram throughout the past few years, first with brown hair and most recently with a natural wavy gray.
As Drusilla, the younger sister of Lynda Carter’s Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Winger made her cinematic debut in 1976’s Slumber Party ’57. This led to a part in the popular TV series Wonder Woman (1979). Winger was invited to appear more frequently, but she rejected out of fear that her role would typecast her.
There were no regrets about that choice; the emerging star would have success in the early 1980s.
She garnered multiple Academy and Golden Globe nominations for her work in three influential 1980s films while her career was at its peak.
She co-starred in Urban Cowboy with John Travolta in 1980. At the time, he was thrilling audiences with his smooth dance moves in Grease (1988) and Saturday Night Fever (1977). She also appeared in Officer and a Gentleman (1982) as Paula, and Terms of Endearment (1983) as Emma, a dying young woman with an overbearing mother Aurora, played by Shirley MacLaine.
Despite her enormous success, Winger took a brief vacation from acting, and, more than 40 years after her ascent to fame, rumors about her reasons for leaving are still rife.
These rumors frequently center on the conflicts between Winger and her co-stars.
It’s been generally stated that Winger had had enough of the gorgeous Gere on the set, despite the fact that fans couldn’t get enough of him.
The co-star who played Sgt. Emil Foley, Louis Gossett Jr., wrote a book titled “An Actor and a Gentleman,” according to an excerpt that was shown on ABC News: “The onscreen chemistry between the two of them was tremendous, but it was a different story once the camera was turned off. They were kept at a minimum distance from one another.
Gossett further alleges that Winger thought nothing of Gere’s performance and that she once referred to him as “a brick wall” in her writing. She also referred to the director of the movie, Taylor Hackford, as an “animal.”
She wasn’t just offended by the characters in the movie.
In addition, the productive MacLaine, a glamorous, quirky, and seasoned veteran, clashed with Winger, a free spirit both in real life and in her character as Emma.
Their initial encounter created the foundation for their relationship.
In an interview with People, MacLaine stated, “I was wearing all my leftover movie-star fur coats to see how my character would feel.” “There was Debra, wearing a miniskirt and combat boots…I had a “Oh my goodness” moment.
In fact, the scene turned into the wellspring of Hollywood’s most cherished rumors, according to People. Winger desired the spotlight. According to reports, one hit the other.
When they were both nominated for best actress at the Oscars, the women were then pitted against one another.
In her acceptance speech after receiving the prize, MacLaine stated, “I deserve this!”
Despite rumors, Winger maintains that she “pushed the pause button” on Hollywood for personal and not work-related reasons.
“I wasn’t interested in the sections that were coming. I had previously either done it or felt it. I required a challenge. I delved into my life totally because it pushed me more than the pieces did, Winger said to People.
After appearing with Billy Crystal in the 1995 romantic comedy Forget Paris, Winger took a six-year hiatus.
She relocated to New York City at that time and focused on marrying actor Arliss Howard in 1996. She is the stepmother of Sam, Howard’s son from a previous marriage, and they have a son together named Gideon Babe. Sam was born in 1997. She also has a second biological kid, Noah Hutton, who she raised from 1986 to 1990 while she was married to her first husband, Timothy Hutton.
Her husband, who also co-starred with Winger and Rosanna Arquette in the 2001 picture Big Bad Love, directed and produced it as well. Her next effort was the 2002 film Searching for Debra Winger. In her role as the film’s director, Arquette tries to explain why Winger momentarily left her profession at its height.
With roles in The Lovers (2017), Rachel Getting Married (2008), and Kajillionaire (2020), Winger garnered considerable notoriety. Rachel Getting Married starred Anne Hathaway.
She appeared in the 2021 anthological drama film With/In, Volume 2, the section titled Her Own. Her husband, who also co-stars in the movie, wrote and directed the scene.
I have no idea what Hollywood is. Now that I’m residing beneath the sign, I just giggle and stare at it. Hollywood is a place, but I don’t really think of it as such, Winger said, adding, “…but there must be some in-crowds that I just don’t know about.
We can’t imagine a Hollywood without Debra Winger and we hope she soon gets to take home an Academy Award! What are your favorite Winger movies?