David Winters (April 5, 1939 – April 23, 2019) was an English-American actor, dancer, choreographer, producer, film distributor, director and screenwriter. Winters participated in over 150 television series, television specials, and motion pictures. His accolades include two Emmy Award nominations, a Peabody Award, a Christopher Award, and many more. At a young age, he was seen acting in film and television projects such as Lux Video Theatre, Naked City, Mister Peepers, Rock, Rock, Rock, and Roogie's Bump. He received some attention in Broadway musicals for his roles in West Side Story and Gypsy. In the film adaptation of West Side Story he was one of the few to be re-cast. It became the highest grossing motion picture of that year, and won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
While Winters continued acting, he gained recognition for his dance choreography. He was frequently seen on television with his troupe David Winters Dancers in various variety shows most notably Hullabaloo where he was the first to choreograph the Watusi, originated the Freddy, and popularized several dances in the 1960s. He was a common collaborator of Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret including their hit film Viva Las Vegas. Other dance choreography credits include T.A.M.I. Show, Send Me No Flowers, Billie, A Star Is Born, and more. For the TV movie Movin' with Nancy, he is noted to be the first dance choreographer to be nominated in the history of the Emmys in the category Special Classification of Individual Achievements before the category Outstanding Achievement in Choreography (for which he was also nominated) was created.
He eventually became a director and a producer starting with a streak of star-studded TV specials including Raquel! and Once Upon a Wheel. His first theatrical release was the concert film Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare, it is noted for imaginative costumes and set. He also directed The Last Horror Film. It was Joe Spinell's second lead role and his last collaboration with Caroline Munro. Another directorial effort was the teenage romance skateboarding film Thrashin', starring Josh Brolin in his first lead. In the mid 1980s, Winters opened his own production and distribution company, Action International Pictures, within this enterprise he mostly produced for other directors, a number of them by directed by David A. Prior starring his brother Ted. Some of these cult classics include Deadly Prey, Aerobicide, Space Mutiny, and Mankillers. From then on he specialized in action-oriented films many with recurring actors such as Robert Ginty, David Carradine, Robert Davi, Jan-Michael Vincent, Cameron Mitchell, and Oliver Reed.
From 2000 to 2019, Winters remained an active member of the film industry. Some of these efforts includes acting in mini series Blackbeard with Angus Macfadyen, and Jessica Chastain and the Sundance winner Teddy Bear, as well as producing the historical epic The King Maker with Gary Stretch and John Rhys Davies. He also produced, directed, and co-starred in two award-winning films Welcome 2 Ibiza, with Gary Busey and Mackenzie Astin, and Dancin': It's On!, with winners and runners-up of the TV shows So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, this ensemble is led by Witney Carson and also co-stars Gary Daniels. His last output was his memoir Tough Guys Do Dance, about his journey in the film industry.
Winters died on 23 April 2019 at the age of 80, from congestive heart failure.