Celebrity Testimonials

“I met David Winters when I took his jazz class in L.A. I knew then that he was truly talented and would be a great choreographer. He was soft-spoken, sensitive, funny, and humble, but also, when he moved, he was like a panther: dangerous, strong, and cunning. David did all the musical numbers in “Viva Las Vegas.” He also directed and choreographed my first headlining show at the Rivera Hotel, did my first television special, and received an Emmy nomination. He has been a wonderful friend through all these years.”

— Ann-Margret, 5-time Golden Globe Winner, Emmy Award Winner, and 2-time Academy Award Nominee

“I LOVE you in “West Side Story” David. I watch it every week of my life, it’s my favorite movie….I know every step from it, I wish I was in it. You in that movie…… inspired me so much”

— Michael Jackson ….World #1 SuperStar

“David Winters is one of the most interesting and talented people I know. His ability to ‘think outside the box’ inspired me to take chances in my own musical career. He was a great friend to me in the earliest stages of my career and remains a friend to this day. That, above all else, speaks to his character. Oh my…is he one talented guy! ”

— Lynda Carter, The Original Wonder Woman and Singing Star of her own TV Specials

“When you look at the men who have inspired boys to dance— Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Sammy Davis Jr.—David Winters’s name is high on that list. He was certainly my inspiration. Watching him dance in “West Side Story” changed my life. When I began dancing I soon realized, if you want to be a dancer, you need to be tough!”

— Nigel Lythgoe, OBE (Order of the British Empire), Producer and Owner of “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance”

“The first time I saw David Winters was in 1957 or ’58 when my mother and I went to the Winter Garden Theatre in New York to see “West Side Story.” David played Baby John in the original production, and later he played A-rab in the film. I never forgot his performance. He was strong, energetic, and sexy. Years later when I was producing my TV special, “Movin’ With Nancy,” I knew I had to ask David to do the choreography. He created and performed an extremely athletic number all around the run-down Pacific Ocean Park with a group of dancers that made the lifeless pier live again—and won himself an Emmy in the process! That was in 1967. After all these years, I still treasure our friendship and always hold him close to my heart.”

— Nancy Sinatra, top-selling recording artist

“David Winters has been one of the most important people in my professional life. He not only gave me my first dancing job on television and my first dancing job in a film, but his encouragement gave me the confidence I needed to continue pursuing a career. He was my first mentor, and I am forever grateful. Thank you, David!”

— Donna McKechnie, Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Theater World Special Award-winning star of “A Chorus Line”

“David Winters, I just want to shake your hand. When I was a kid growing up I wanted to be an actor and a dancer. Everyone told me not to, it was too difficult, and I wouldn’t be a success, but when I saw you in “West Side Story” you inspired me to do it. I just want to shake your hand and thank you for the inspiration! Thank you, David!”

— Henry Winkler (The Fonze), Golden Globe- and Emmy winning Actor

“I know David from our working experience on the film “West Side Story.” David’s sheer presence gave the Jets the strength so important to “the gang”—who they are and what they feel, the important word being feel—very important to the story. His talent as an actor makes everything very real. Humor, pathos, strength, and a wonderful imagination—he has them all. I have great admiration for David! David is the best!”

— George Chakiris, Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning actor

“David Winters is a RHAPSODY!!”

— Burt Reynolds, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning actor

“David Winters has excelled in every aspect of the entertainment world—from dancer to studio head. He is an innovator. He has worked with and influenced some of the biggest names in show business for nearly 60 years. His new book, Tough Guys Do Dance, is a must read. You will be enthralled!”

— Robert Davi, multi-award-winning actor and current star of the TV series “Paper Empire”

“Little did I know that taking David Winters’s dance classes at the Coronet Theatre in LA would launch my career as a dancer, choreographer, director, and producer. I had never seen anyone dance like David—WOW! David was my mentor, and my first TV series for David was “Shindig,” and then “Hullabaloo,” with films to follow. I owe him more than words can possibly say. Thank you, David. I am forever grateful!”

—Anita Mann, five-time nominee and one-time winner of the Emmy Award

Announced to the audience every night at Universal’s Amphitheatre and NYC’s Radio City Music Hall: “There is a little guy backstage who never sleeps, who’s responsible for all of this. He is my amazing director and producer, and his name is David Winters. Please give him a really big round of applause! David, come out here and take a bow!”

— Diana Ross, all-time best-selling female recording artist in the world

“David Winters is my favorite choreographer. We did four films together, starting with “Viva Las Vegas,” then “Girl Happy,” “Tickle Me,” and “Easy Come, Easy Go.” I love working with him, and he makes it so much fun. It’s not like work at all.”

— Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll

“David Winters is one of the most talented film industry professionals that I’ve had the pleasure to work with. He is a genius choreographer and a very talented director. I worked with him on “Dancin’: It’s On!” where we applied technology to enhance the surround sound. David is also a wonderful person to work with and has always been open to new ideas.”

— Tony Bongiovi, award-winning music producer of over 40 Platinum and Gold records

“Thank you David for your AMAZING work on Nancy’s Special. You made her look terrific and your solo dance number was wonderful. I am very proud of her and as her father I wish to simply say a big THANK YOU!” Signed, Nancy’s Dad.

— Frank Sinatra, known as the greatest singer of the 20th century and winner of The Academy Award and The Golden Globe

“I’m so happy David chose to share his interesting life which I am apart of. David, as Baby John, was wonderful in the original “West Side Story”. An artist in every way and now an author. Thank you David.”

— Chita Rivera, 2018 Tony Lifetime Achievement Award winner, 2 time Tony Award winner and 10 time nominee, awarded the Kennedy Center Presidential Award, and holds the all time record for the most Tony nominations earned by a single performer

“David is an icon! His dancing and choreography are as good as it gets. Working with him in “West Side Story” was an absolute delight! Just don’t play gin rummy with him. You’ll lose all your money!”

— Russ Tamblyn, Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winning actor

“West Side Story,” the original cast and Jerome Robbins, is the reason I became an actor. I idolized David Winters in the show and had a huge crush on him. Over the years, watching shows he choreographed with Ann-Margret and the movies with Elvis mesmerized me. He produced me in a wonderful role in a movie called “Double Threat.” I had a blast with him. His book, Tough Guys Do Dance, promises to be a classic experience in reading.”

— Sally Kirkland, Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner as Best Actress in the film “Anna”

“David Winters has chronicled a huge career within this book! And let’s not forget he started as a child star! What a gift to the world David is! He’s an amazing man, producer, director, choreographer… and a great dancer! David has worked with all the major stars of our time, and you will love reading all about his journey in Tough Guys Do Dance! David Winters is a great talent! An amazing life, a spectacular book! Get it! Read it! You will be happy you did! Tough guys do dance!”

— Joe Tremaine, President of Tremaine Dance Convention, attended by over two-million dance students and teachers and teacher of Paula Abdul, Cher, and Diana Ross

“What an insightful look into the amazing life of David Winters— dancer, actor, singer, choreographer, director, and producer. The depth of David’s formidable talent leaps off the pages of this book and offers performers and non-performers alike a view into the incredible and often insane world of the entertainment industry. On a personal note, I would like to thank David for taking a chance on an unknown ballet/ jazz dancer in 1975 for Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to My Nightmare.” It worked out well.”

— Sheryl (Mrs. Alice) Cooper, famous dancer and actress

“Just watch David’s incredible 20-second solo from “West Side Story’s” “Cool.” He takes dance steps, turns them into raw emotion, and tells a story. It was the aha! moment when I understood what dance should be about. “I became his assistant in 1963, at his legendary dance class above the Coronet Theater, where not only the greatest dancers in Hollywood came to train, but so did television and movie stars. I remember Elvis Presley leaning against the open door of the studio to check out Sue Lyon. It was the place to be! “He knew how to merge traditional jazz dance and the go-go dancing exploding in the clubs onto film and television. “He took me along for an amazing ride, choreographing groundbreaking TV like “Shindig” and the iconic “T.A.M.I. Show” and films like “Pajama Party, Beach Blanket Bingo,” and “Viva Las Vegas,” to name just a few. It was the jumping-off point of my solo career. Thanks, David…”

— Toni Basil, award-winning producer, director, choreographer, and singer of the multimillion-selling worldwide hit “Mickey”

“David Winters was the brilliant director, choreographer, and the most essential part of my highly successful world tour and movie “Welcome to My Nightmare,” and nearly killed me—okay, beat me to death—getting me dancing. “Tough guys do dance, and he’s one of the toughest, STILL one of the toughest! Wouldn’t mess with him! (said with a smile.) When you’re talking show biz, you’re talking David. He has worked with everyone. David could call anyone in show biz and they would pick up the phone. That’s a pretty good reputation when you can span ballet to Broadway to punk.”

— Alice Cooper, world-famous, best-selling recording artist considered the “Father of Shock Rock”

“David Winters was the idol of any young male dancer, and all wanted to be him—the cool vulnerability and strength. As a choreographer, every young male dancer wanted to do his steps, including me!”

— Dennis Grimaldi, 3x Tony Award-winning Broadway producer and Pulitzer Prize winner

“One of the greatest influences on my life as an entertainer was the film, “West Side Story.” And David Winters as, A-Rab, was a monster entertainer in my eyes. Fast forward a few years and suddenly he is introduced to me as one of the Directors of the “Monkees TV Series” and the stage director of the first MONKEES WORLD TOUR. As he guided and rehearsed me through that intense process, it was all I could do to not ask for his autograph. There wasn’t much choreography in our show, per say, but David brought to the staging of our show his inimitable style, essence, and joy de vive that is what David Winters is all about.”

— Micky Dolenz, member of The Monkees and star of the Emmy Award winning TV series of the same name

“David Winters is an inspiration to everyone, whether in the entertainment industry or any other walk of life. He has had success throughout his life as a dancer, choreographer, director, film producer, and now author because he never gives up, he constantly re-creates himself and pushes himself. He has overcome cancer operations and heart transplants and just keeps on succeeding. The man has the spirit of a warrior that just never quits! David, it has been a pleasure and an honor to be a small part of your journey.”

— Gary Daniels, world-champion martial artist

“Doing “Once Upon a Wheel” with director/producer David Winters was a terrific experience. I loved the special so much it was my idea to expand it into a film. We bought two racing cars and had a blast doing the race circuit. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, AND we became great friends.”

— Paul Newman, Academy Award-, Golden Globe-, BAFTA-, and Emmy-winning actor

“Your Raquel Special was terrific! A wonderful special David. Congratulations on a great show.”

—Fred Astaire, known as one of the greatest dancers ever who also won The Academy Award, The Golden Globe, and the Emmy.

“West Side Story!” “Shindig!” “Hullabaloo!” Nancy Sinatra! “The T.A.M.I. Show!” “Viva Las Vegas” starring Elvis and Ann-Margret! “The Monkees!” David Winters is responsible for entertaining my entire youth! And he was just getting started!”

— Stevie Van Zandt, star of  The Sopranos and Lilyhammer TV series and the lead guitar player of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band

“David Winters, a bona fide dance icon, was and will always be recognized as a very special creative force in Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole, having worked with all of the greatest legends to ever exist, such as Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, and Diana Ross! David possesses the unique ability to encourage and instill in artists, both amateurs and seasoned professionals, the confidence to see the hope and artistic voice inside themselves—two necessary things most certainly needed to succeed.”

— Shabba-Doo, star of “Breakin’” and “Breakin’ 2”

“I met David Winters when I was a young woman living in London and working for MCA Universal Pictures as a personal assistant. David was there to direct Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to My Nightmare.” I had adored “West Side Story” and was enthralled to be meeting someone so talented and charismatic. David offered me a job as his assistant on a movie he was directing in Hollywood—I couldn’t believe my luck. I arrived in LA and never left. He was the first person to tell me I was smart and could do anything I wanted. I have been a producer for the past 32 years, and I am forever grateful to him and his inspiration. I cannot wait to read his book.”

— Victoria Pearman, producing partner with Mick Jagger, at Jagged Films, for 25 years and a Grammy nominee

“David is inspirational…He had a lot to do with inspiring me!”

— Dionne Warwick, 3x Grammy Hall of Famer and award-winning singer

“David is a winner! He was born with all the tools and knows how to use them. His book puts them where they belong—right in your hands. Go ahead, let him sing to you!”

— Grover Dale, 2x Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner and owner of Answers 4 Dancers

“While directing “The Steve Allen Show” in Hollywood and, at the time, offered my first feature film, “The T.A.M.I. Show,” I asked around as to who was the hottest choreographer in town, and the answer was unanimous: DAVID WINTERS. I went to the Coronet Theater on La Cienega Blvd. to watch one of his dance classes, and it was the experience of a lifetime. We’ve not only remained good friends ever since, but [this meeting] led to a fantastic [working] relationship, not only on “T.A.M.I.” but on “Hullabaloo” and “Lucy in London,” and with Diana Ross and The Dave Clark Five, and being given the opportunity to work with his incredible assistant choreographers and dancers enriched my life beyond words. Working with David was an experience I shall never forget, and needless to say, to this day, I am still a David Winters fan…and friend!”

— Steve Binder, Emmy- and ACE Award-winning director

“David Winters gave me my first job in Hollywood dancing in the Ann-Margret, Elvis Presley film “Viva Las Vegas.” After, I worked for David on every television network in town and with every big star there was. At the time, David was the most sought after choreographer in Hollywood. While working with David, I learned what it meant to be a professional dancer and especially about how to choreograph. I watched him create dance number after dance number. I gained valuable experience and the confidence to try new things, new challenges, with my dancing and more importantly my choreography. David was my mentor and “teacher by example” the whole time I worked with him. Thank you, David… I’m so grateful for all you taught me.”

— Walter Painter, award-winning choreographer with 3 Emmy wins and 4 more nominations

“Working for David as a dancer was always a real privilege and a joy. He was talented and compassionate with the dancers. You always wanted to do your very best for David. A talented performer as well as choreographer, director, and producer, he has the background as well as the raw talent to make magic happen on the screen. I have only happy memories of working for David! Great guy. (Great sense of humor, too! Gypsy humor, that is…)”

— Pete Menefee, award-winning costume designer with 3 Emmy wins

“David, Elvis loved and respected your extraordinary talent, and considered you a good friend. When you choreographed his films and were there on the set with him he felt more at ease and secure.”

— Larry Geller, Hair Stylist to Elvis Presley