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Alex Winter
Alex winter 2013.jpg
Winter in 2013
Alexander Ross Winter

(1965-07-17) July 17, 1965 (age 58)
London, England
Nationality British/American
Occupation Actor, filmmaker
Years active 1978–present
  • Sonya Dawson
    (m. 1995; div. ?)
  • Ramsey Ann Naito
    (m. 2010)
Children 3

Alexander Ross Winter (born July 17, 1965) is a British-American actor and filmmaker. He played the slacker Bill in the 1989 film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and its sequels Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991) and Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020). He is also known for his role as Marko in the 1987 vampire film The Lost Boys; for co-writing, co-directing, and starring in the 1993 film Freaked; and for directing documentaries in the 2010s.

Early life

Winter was born in London, England. His mother, Margaret "Gregg" Mayer, is a New York-born American and former Martha Graham dancer, who founded a modern-dance company in London in the mid-1960s. His father, Ross Albert Winter, is an Australian who danced with Winter's mother's troupe. Winter received training in dance as a child. He has an older brother named Stephen. His father has English ancestry and his mother is Jewish, of Ukrainian Jewish descent.

When Winter was five, his family moved to Missouri, where his father ran the Mid-American Dance Company, while his mother taught dance at Washington University in St. Louis. The two divorced in 1973.

In 1978, Winter moved to the New York City area, where he and his mother lived in Montclair, New Jersey. During this time Winter began performing as an actor on and off Broadway, commuting into New York City. He reports his experience in New Jersey as being positive.

In 1983, after graduating from Montclair High School, Winter was accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. While at NYU, he met fellow aspiring filmmaker Tom Stern. The two collaborated on a number of 16 mm short films and both graduated with honours.


As an actor, Winter spent many years on Broadway with supporting roles in productions of The King and I, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, and the American premiere of Simon Gray's Close of Play at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

Winter dropped out of NYU film school before his senior year, and he and Tom Stern moved out to Hollywood, where the two wrote and directed a number of short films and music videos. Winter continued to find work as an actor, landing notable roles in such big productions as The Lost Boys and Rosalie Goes Shopping.

In 1989, Winter found international success when he co-starred with Keanu Reeves, playing Bill S. Preston in the smash-hit comedy Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, a role he reprised in its 1991 sequel, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.

Following the success of Bill & Ted, Winter and creative collaborators Tom Stern and Tim Burns were hired to develop a sketch comedy show for MTV. The result, 1991's The Idiot Box, was a success for the network, but the channel's budgetary problems prevented them from filming additional seasons, and it was canceled after six episodes. Winter, Stern and Burns accepted a $12 million deal from 20th Century Fox to film their own feature film, which became 1993's Freaked. While the film was never widely released, despite positive reviews from The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, Freaked went on to become a cult favourite, through festivals, TV and DVD, and was cited by Entertainment Weekly, on their list of Top Ten Comedies of the Nineties.

Alex Winter
Winter at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival

Winter did not return to directing until 1999, when he filmed Fever. The film was shown at film festivals worldwide, including Official Selection in the Director's Fortnight at Cannes. New York Daily News praised the film, calling it "a claustrophobic mind bender. Winter sustains an aura of creepiness worthy of Roman Polanski."

Winter directed the live-action adaptation of the hit Cartoon Network series Ben 10, which aired in November 2007 and garnered the highest ratings in Cartoon Network history. He directed its sequel, Ben 10: Alien Swarm, which aired on Cartoon Network in November 2009 and captured over 16 million viewers in its premiere weekend. As of 2008, he was attached to write the screenplay for the Howard Stern-produced remake of Rock 'n' Roll High School. In 2010, he was attached to direct a 3D-remake of the 1987 horror film The Gate, which was scheduled for release in 2011.

Winter's 2012 VH1 rock doc Downloaded earned worldwide critical acclaim at theatrical and festival screenings. Winter's multiple award-winning 2015 documentary Deep Web had its world premiere at SXSW and a broadcast premiere in the U.S. on the Epix network alongside a global festival tour. The film went wide on September, 2015, opening as the #1 documentary on iTunes.

In 2013, he had a role in the thriller Grand Piano, starring Elijah Wood and John Cusack, playing The Assistant.

In 2016, Winter released a short documentary entitled Relatively Free about journalist Barrett Brown's release from prison. This was followed in 2017 by another short documentary, Trump's Lobby about President elect Donald Trump.

In 2018, Winter released two documentaries, The Panama Papers, about the Panama Papers, and Trust Machine: The Story Of Blockchain, which premiered in Los Angeles on November 16, 2018. In July 2015, Winter began work on a biographical documentary of the rock guitarist and composer Frank Zappa. The Zappa Family Trust publicly gave its approval to Winter's plans for the film. Released on November 27, 2020, Zappa was not only the first documentary with access to his archives, but this project was the highest funded documentary in crowdfunding history, via Kickstarter.

In April 2011, Winter's Bill & Ted co-star Keanu Reeves confirmed that a third installment of the film series was under way; the film was in development for most of the 2010s. Winter returned as Bill S. Preston, Esq. in the film, Bill & Ted Face the Music, which was released on August 28, 2020; with Reeves describing the plot as, "Basically, they're supposed to write a song to save the world and they haven't done that."

Technology and privacy activism

Winter is also an outspoken advocate for technology and privacy rights.

Winter said he began devoting a lot of his attention to the internet not just because he liked technology, but also because "I found this community there." Winter liked the idea of large numbers of anonymous users discussing a variety of topics in an anonymous space. "I found that really striking then. And it seemed liked the beginning of something," he said.

He criticized media companies and news outlets for exaggerating how many people used Napster for digital piracy. "Napster was a huge threat to the power structure," Winter said.

Winter's interest in technology, the Internet and privacy inspired him to make the 2012 documentary film Downloaded, about internet file sharing and Napster, and the 2015 film Deep Web, about the Silk Road, bitcoin, and the dark web.

Personal life

Winter was married to Sonya Dawson, with whom he had a son, born in 1998. The couple later divorced. In 2010, he married Ramsey Ann Naito. They have two children.

Winter maintains dual British and American citizenship.



Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1984 NYU Sight & Sound Project Yes No No Co-director with Tom Stern
Short film
1985 Squeal of Death Yes Yes Yes Co-director with Tom Stern, co-writer
Short film
1989 Aisles of Doom Yes Yes No
Bar-B-Que Movie Yes No No Co-director with Tom Stern
Short film
1990 Howie Meets the Ghost of Environmental Disasters Yet to Come Yes No No
1991 or 1992 Meals on Wheels Yes Yes No Co-director with Tom Stern, co-writer
Short film
1993 Freaked Yes Yes Yes Co-director with Tom Stern, co-writer, co-producer
1999 Fever Yes Yes No
2012 Downloaded Yes Yes Yes Documentary film on Napster and its community
2015 Deep Web: The Untold Story of Bitcoin and the Silk Road Yes Yes Yes Documentary film
Smosh: The Movie Yes No No
2016 Anyone Can Quantum Yes No Yes Short film
Relatively Free Yes No Yes Documentary short on Barrett Brown
2017 Trump's Lobby Yes No Yes
2018 The Panama Papers Yes Yes Yes Documentary film
Trust Machine: The Story Of Blockchain Yes Yes Yes Documentary film
2020 Showbiz Kids Yes Yes Yes Documentary film on child actors in Hollywood
Zappa Yes Yes Yes Documentary film on Frank Zappa's archives
Year Title Role Notes
1984 NYU Sight & Sound Project Geek Short film
1985 Squeal of Death Howie / various characters Short film
Aired on Night Flight and West Coast Cable
Death Wish 3 Hermosa
1987 The Lost Boys Marko Credited as Alexander Winter
Medium Rare Timmy
1988 Haunted Summer Dr. John William Polidori
1989 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Bill S. Preston, Esq.
Rosalie Goes Shopping Schatzi Greenspace
Aisles of Doom Grendel T.W. Ulcerous Short film
Aired on Night Flight and West Coast Cable
Entering Texas a.k.a. Bar-B-Que Movie Mexican hitchhiker Short film
Part of Stuart S. Shapiro's Impact Video Magazine
1990 Howie Meets the Ghost of Environmental Disasters Yet to Come Howie Short film
Part of Nigel Dick-directed Save the Planet: A CBS/Hard Rock Cafe Special
1991 Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Bill S. Preston, Esq. / Granny Preston / Evil Robot Bill
1991 or 1992 Meals on Wheels Dweeb
1993 Freaked Ricky Coogin Last widely released film until 2013
1997 The Borrowers TV Gangster Cameo; he points to Jeff the Exterminator's van
1999 Fever Subway passenger Cameo
2013 Grand Piano Assistant First widely released film since 1997
2015 Smosh: The Movie Uncle Keith
2019 In Search of Darkness Himself Documentary film
2020 Bill & Ted Face the Music Bill S. Preston, Esq.
In Search of Darkness: Part II Himself Documentary film
2022 In Search of Tomorrow Himself Documentary film
TBA Absolute Dominion Post-production


Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1991 The Idiot Box Yes Yes No 6 episodes
Co-director with Tom Stern, co-writer of 1 episode: "The Best of the Idiot Box"
2003 Jimmy Kimmel Live! Yes No No Various segments
2005 Dirty Famous Yes No No
2005–2007 The Andy Milonakis Show Yes No No
2007 Ben 10: Race Against Time Yes No Yes TV movie
2009 Ben 10: Alien Swarm Yes No Yes TV movie
2011 Blue Mountain State Yes No No Episodes "The Corn Field" and "The Corn Field 2"
2011–2013 Supah Ninjas Yes No No 5 episodes
2012 Level Up Yes No No 4 episodes
2013 Marvin Marvin Yes No No Episode "Mr. Earth"
Betas Yes No No Episode "Show & Tell"
2014 Maker Shack Agency Yes No No Episode "Pilot"
2015 Bella and the Bulldogs Yes No No Episode "Tornado Afraido"
Kirby Buckets Yes No No Episodes "Gimme Some Room" and "All Hands on Dexter"
2016 Quantum Is Calling Yes No Yes TV movie
Year Title Role Notes
1985 The Equalizer Jeffrey 1 episode: "Mama's Boy"
1990 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures Bill S. Preston, Esq. (voice) 13 episodes
1991 The Idiot Box Various roles 6 episodes
1993 Basic Values: ***, Shock & Censorship in the 90's Stinx on Ice TV Movie
2007 Ben 10: Race Against Time Constantine Jacobs TV Movie
Bones Monte Gold 1 episode: "The Girl in the Gator"
Saul of the Mole Men King Mole Man (voice) 5 episodes
2009 Ben 10: Alien Swarm Nanomech (voice) TV Movie
2012, 2019 Robot Chicken Bill S. Preston, Esq. (voice), Steve Burns (voice), Earl the Lego Man (voice) 2 episodes
2018 Into the Dark The Voice (voice) Episode: "The Body"

Music videos

Year Song Artist Notes
1989 "Higher Ground" Red Hot Chili Peppers Actor
"Knock Me Down" Co-director with Tom Stern
Actor, as Young Man
"Taste the Pain" Director
1990 "Who's the Mack?" Ice Cube Co-director with Tom Stern
"Me & Elvis" Human Radio
"Decadence Dance" Extreme
1991 "Photograffitti" Director
1993 "The Jackal" Ronny Jordan
1994 "Hard Act to Follow" Brother Cane Actor
"Milquetoast" Helmet Director
"Wilma's Rainbow"
1995 "1 to 1 Religion" Bomb the Bass feat. Carlton
"Verklemmt" Foetus
1996 "If 6 Was 9" Axiom Funk
1997 "Bug Powder Dust" Bomb the Bass feat. Justin Warfield
"Exactly What You Wanted" Helmet
2003 "Talamanam Sound Clash" Tabla Beat Science Concert DVD
Co-director with Zane Vella


Year Show Role Notes
1977–1978 The King and I Louis Leonowens 1977 Broadway revival, Replacement part
1979–1981 Peter Pan John Darling 1979 Broadway revival
1981 Close of Play Matthew American Premiere, Manhattan Theater Club

See also

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