Dana Wynter

Dana Wynter
Dana Wynter

in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Born Dagmar Winter
8 June 1931(1931-06-08)
Berlin, Germany
Died 5 May 2011(2011-05-05) (aged 79)
Ojai, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1951–1993
Spouse Greg Bautzer (1956-1981; divorced) 1 child

Dana Wynter (8 June 1931[1][2] – 5 May 2011) was a German-born British[3] actress, who was brought up in England and Southern Africa. She appeared in film and television for more than forty years beginning in the 1950s, most notably in the original version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.


Life and career

Early life

Wynter was born as Dagmar Winter in Berlin, Germany,[4][5] the daughter of Dr. Peter Wynter (né Winter), a noted British surgeon, and his wife, Jutta Oarda, a native of Hungary. She grew up in England.[4][5] When she was sixteen years old her father went to Morocco to operate on a woman who would not allow anyone else to attend her.[4] He visited friends in Southern Rhodesia, fell in love with it and brought his daughter and her stepmother to live with him there.[4]

Dana Wynter (as she called herself) later enrolled at South Africa's Rhodes University (the only female student in a class of 150)[4] and dabbled in theatre, playing the blind girl in a school production of Through a Glass Darkly, in which she claimed to be "terrible".[4] After more than a year of studies, she returned to England, dropped her medical studies and turned to acting.[citation needed]


Wynter began her cinema career 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 the Parliament building). "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".[citation needed]

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, with Otto Preminger) and Studio One (1955, with Barry Sullivan), and a 1955 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: "An Unlocked Window" (winner of an Edgar Award),[6] among others.

She relocated 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. In 1956 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), Kenneth More in Sink the Bismarck! (1960), Danny Kaye in On the Double (1961), and George C. Scott in The List of Adrian Messenger (1963).

Over the following twenty years, she appeared as a guest star in literally dozens of television series and in occasional cameo 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 television series The Man Who Never Was, but the series lasted only one season. She guest starred in 1969 on the second version of The Donald O'Connor Show. She appeared in an Irish soap opera, Bracken (which also starred a young Gabriel Byrne) from 1978-80. In 1993, she returned to television to play Raymond Burr's wife in The Return of Ironside.

Personal life

Wynter divorced her only husband, celebrity attorney Greg Bautzer, in 1981. She and Bautzer 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.

In the late 1980s Wynter authored the column "Grassroots" for the newspaper The Guardian in London.[7] Writing in both California and Ireland, 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.[8][9]

July 2008 saw Wynter 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, Mark Bautzer, as a gift.[10] The dispute was resolved in the High Court in 2009[11]


Dana 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".[12]


Year Title Role
1951 White Corridors
1951 Lady Godiva Rides Again Uncredited
1952 The Woman's Angle
1952 The Crimson Pirate
1952 It Started in Paradise
1953 Knights of the Round Table Uncredited
1955 The View from Pompey's Head
1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers Becky Driscoll
1956 D-Day the Sixth of June Valerie Russell
1957 Something of Value
1958 Fräulein
1958 In Love and War
1959 Shake Hands with the Devil
1960 Sink the Bismarck! Second Officer Anne Davies
1961 On the Double
1963 The List of Adrian Messenger Lady Jocelyn Bruttenholm
1968 Companions in Nightmare
1970 Airport
1973 Santee


Air Date Show Episode Title Character
2/13/1963 The Virginian If You Have Tears
1/13/1966 My Three Sons From Maggie with Love Maggie


Year Award Notes
1956 Golden Globes - Most Promising Newcomer - Female[13] Won with Anita Ekberg and 'Victoria Shaw'


  1. ^ a b "Dana Wynter". The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/film-obituaries/8503334/Dana-Wynter.html. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  2. ^ Thursby, Keith. "Dana Wynter dies at 79; actress in 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-dana-wynter-20110508,0,4958981.story. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  3. ^ Biodata
  4. ^ a b c d e f Weaver, Tom (2001). I Was a Monster Movie Maker. McFarland. p. 294. ISBN 9780786410002. 
  5. ^ a b Dana Wynter profile at FilmReference.com
  6. ^ "Internet Movie Database". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055657/awards. Retrieved 2011-18-08. 
  7. ^ Dana Wynter, "Grassroots: The pheasant who came to dinner", The Guardian (London), 25 January 1986
  8. ^ "Poor little shepherd who's lost his way ... baa baa baa", The Guardian (London), 14 November 1987
  9. ^ Dana Wynter, Grassroots: "Going west/Dana Wynter who has lived in California for 25 years, finds the place a nightmare", The Guardian (London), 12 January 1989
  10. ^ "Former Hollywood star takes case in dispute over painting", The Irish Times (Dublin), 10 July 2008
  11. ^ "Dispute between Killybegs businessman and Hollywood actress settled", Donegal Democrat, 16 July 2009
  12. ^ [1], Ojai Valley News Blog
  13. ^ Awards for Dana Wynter at the Internet Movie Database

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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