I always loved how sassy, sexy and smart Debra Winger was in all her roles. From Officer and a Gentleman to Urban Cowboy, from Mike’s Murder to a Dangerous Woman and Shadowlands – Debra has always brought her unique brand of sensual vulnerability to each character she’s portrayed. She’s also drop dead gorgeous. The kind of girl next door quality mixed with a promiscuity that has all the boys in the neighborhood chasing after her. My neighborhood should be so lucky.
Debra’s acting style has always amazed me. If I had to define it in one word I would have to call it “openness.” That ability to come off fresh and spontaneous as if what was happening was really happening for the first time to her. That takes incredibly energy and talent to do over and over again and come off not only convincing, but thoroughly engaging and ultimately undeniable. In her best and biggest roles, Debra illicits a sense of wide-eyed innocence – wanting to believe in her man even when her man is, well, a jerk. Richard Gere was her first jerk. John Travolta was her second. But she stuck to them like glue (at least her characters did) and proved that love could win out in the end.
That’s not to say in either Officer/Gentleman or Urban Cowboy she came across as a push-over. Debra was what I’d like to call the proto-independent woman in her 80’s and early 90’s roles. Again, it’s her onscreen vulnerability that belied her sense of self – one that she grew into on screen over the course of the storyline like watching a woman learn that she can be independent and hold her man. And all the while, Debra’s soulful eyes conveys the heartbreak her character is experiencing that comes with such knowledge.
It’s a shame we haven’t seen too much of Debra, lately. The few times she’s stepped into the public spotlight lately it’s to defend the likes of Roman Polanski. I’d rather a Director hire Debra and bring her back to the big screen so we can once again revel in her beauty and talent. I know that she’s got a lot of life left in her career. And it would be like coming home after being gone a long time – and having the girl next door that you had a huge crush on as a kid – waiting for you at the door with a warm smile and a cold beer.