Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Debra Winger

Today’s WOD is American Actress Debra Winger. Born Mary Debra Winger in Cleveland, OH on May 16, 1955, she was the daughter of meat packer Robert Winger (who named her after his favorite actress, Debra Paget) and mother Ruth Felder, an office manager. The family relocated to Southern California when Winger was five, where she showed an aptitude for schoolwork that resulted in her graduating from high school at just 15 years old. She also developed a passion for acting, but kept it a secret from her family. Reports were conflicted about her late teenage years, which found her traveling to Israel to spend time on a kibbutz or participate in a youth group that visited one. She also allegedly joined the Israeli army's youth program for a brief stint, but left after only a few months. Upon her return, she found work as a performer at a local amusement park, but was involved in a traumatic car accident that left her both blind and paralyzed for several months. During her recuperation, she made a personal vow that if she regained all of her facilities, she would dedicate her life to acting. After she recovered, she left her studies in criminology at California State University at Northridge and relocated to Los Angeles to try her hand in Hollywood.

Her fiercely committed and emotional performances in such popular and critically regarded films as "Urban Cowboy" (1980) and "An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982) solidified her as a leading performer with few peers. She went on to win an Academy Award for her work in “Terms of Endearment" (1983),

In 1995, Winger began her self-imposed exile from the film industry. Her attention shifted to the birth of her son Babe Ruth Howard, as well as to caring for her ailing parents. For six years, Winger kept her distance from acting - save for a semester as a teaching fellow at Harvard University. Her absence from films was soon cited by critics and fellow actresses alike as the unfair fate awaiting many female performers once they reached the age of 40. She became a symbol of the plight faced by Hollywood actresses of a certain age. This unfair, unspoken Hollywood mindset was chronicled in the documentary, "Searching for Debra Winger" - which was the first public exposure the actress had received in years. Perhaps it was this confrontation of the issue raised by many middle-aged actresses which helped turn the tide, causing Winger to slowly return to acting in the new millennium. Although she would never again reach her early Eighties peak, Winger's later performances in such features as "Rachel Getting Married" (2008) proved age had no bearing on the actress' timeless appeal

While her outstanding talent and body of work would probably be enough for her to be a WOD the reason I chose her today was for her support and involvement in the anti-fracking movement.

Energy companies are eager to drill in northeastern Pennsylvania's portions of the Marcellus Shale, a giant underground rock formation. Opponents say the method, known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, endangers drinking water. Its supporters say the drilling would not harm water supplies.

Debra has property in Pennsylvania and is genuinely concerned about the health aspects of such a dangerous energy extracting method. The consequences will affect the water supply and as a result the food supply for millions of residents in the Delaware River Basin are. The movement Debra is involved in floods lawmakers with phone calls and e-mails telling them to not vote for such energy extracting methods such as fracking. They also threaten to show up and protest the passage of legislation that would allow such methods to proceed

"I used to do (fundraising) for the most powerful people — presidential candidates, the biggest things I could find. But I discovered the grass roots is where it's at. "- Debra Winger
"Why is this even politicized?" "It's a public health issue."- Debra Winger