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Winnie Lightner Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (4)  | Trivia (7)

Overview (4)

Born in Greenport, New York, USA
Died in Sherman Oaks, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameWinifred Josephine Reeves
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Winnie Lightner was known as Broadway's "Song a Minute Girl" because she could belt out a song in less than 60 seconds. Her brassy, outgoing style lent itself to Warner's Vitaphone shorts when sound came in, and soon Winnie Lightner was a top Warner star. The missing "Gold Diggers of Broadway" was a triumph for Lightner in 1929, and the all-technicolor "The Life of the Party" was an even bigger hit. Despite the huge success of her first few films, Warner Brothers began to assign maudlin roles to Winnie, and by 1933 she was at MGM playing second fiddle to stars like Joan Crawford. Lightner had met Director Roy Del Ruth when he directed "Gold Diggers", and they eventually married. Winnie had a son from a previous marriage named Richard Lightner (he legally changed his name to Lightner) when she married Del Ruth. They had a son named Thomas who is a cinematographer in Hollywood. After she quit pictures she never looked back. Friends and family never heard her speaking of her days of fame, and the Del Ruths rarely entertained the movie crowd in their home. Winnie died in 1971 and is buried next to Roy at the Mission San Fernando in southern California.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Nick Langdon

Spouse (4)

Roy Del Ruth (14 August 1948 - 27 April 1961) ( his death) ( 1 child)
George Holtrey (stagehand) (8 February 1924 - 23 November 1933) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
William Gerome Herhold (musician) (27 April 1921 - 1923) ( divorced)
John Patrick (18 June 1918 - 13 April 1921) ( divorced)

Trivia (7)

Mother of Thomas Del Ruth. Step-mother of Richard Del Ruth'.
Born Winifred Reeves in Greenport, New York, but was raised in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen by her aunt and uncle Margaret and Andrew Hansen.
Winnie Lightner was the first movie performer in history ever to be censored for what she said or sang on screen rather than for anything she did visually. In 1928 she made a Vitaphone short in which she sang "We Love It," "God Help a Sailor on a Night Like This," "That Brand New Model of Mine," and "We've Got a Lot to Learn." A censorship board in Pennsylvania held the release of the film because of the content of Lightner's songs. According to film historian Alexander Walker, "Warners asked the censors to merely pass judgment on the visuals - the censors refused.".
Sister of Fred Lightner.
Copped the surname Lightner from an professional association with Thea Lightner, who became a talent manager. Though billed in vaudeville as "The Lightner Sisters" (a dance act), they were not actually sisters.
Father: Chauncey Daniel Reeves; Mother: Winifred Touhey.

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