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Debra Winger Watch
Name: Debra Winger

Claim To Fame: Before beating out more than 200 hopefuls for the lead in Urban Cowboy (1980), which paired her with John Travolta and gave her an opportunity to demonstrate her ability. This arresting, star-making performance led to her casting as a homegrown hopeful Juliet opposite Richard Gere in "An Officer and a Gentleman", which earned her an Oscar nomination, and as Shirley MacLaine's cancer stricken daughter in "Terms of Endearment" for which she was Oscar nominated again.

Where Is She Now: In 1995, she stopped acting with no intent to return.

Her absence became so pronounced that her name was used in the title of a 2002 documentary film. Roseanna Arquette's "Searching for Debra Winger," about being a woman in the entertainment industry, brought the actress to the public's consciousness just as she appeared in her first film in six years, "Big Bad Love," with her husband, Arliss Howard.

He convinced her to star in and produce the film about a struggling Southern writer that he had adapted with his brother, James Howard, from stories by Mississippi writer Larry Brown, and that he would direct. After screenings at the Cannes and Toronto film festivals in 2001, the film was critically well-received, but when it opened in the fall the critics were not so kind. And the public stayed far away.

Despite the commercial failure of "Big Bad Love," the two have continued collaborative efforts, most recently the television cable drama "Dawn Anna," (2005) in which Howard directed his wife to an Emmy nomination as outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or a movie.

Both Debra and Arliss will appear as the special guests of the Port Townsend Film Festival taking place on Sept. 23-25, 2005. Why? Debra has a bond with the small town as she spent two months there filming "An Officer and A Gentleman."

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