An esteemed director/producer in film and television in his native Australia, Simon Wincer has earned his highest accolades in the U.S. for directing the acclaimed television miniseries Lonesome Dove (1989); he also had great success directing Free Willy (1993).
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Wincer helmed scores of series' episodes Down Under. In 1979, Wincer made his directorial bow with the romantic comedy Snapshot. Wincer's first turn as a producer was for the internationally successful The Man from Snowy River (1982). It was after this that his own career flipped into high gear. Wincer's next venture, Phar Lap, the fact-based story of Australia's greatest race horse and his mysterious death, earned considerable critical acclaim and ranks as one Australia's most popular films. Wincer's next film, One Night Stand, was a chilling black comedy about four young people who find themselves stranded in the Sydney Opera House after the start of WWIII.
Wincer made a rather inauspicious Hollywood debut with the bland kidpic D.A.R.Y.L. (1985), but did much better with the Disney made-for-television drama The Girl Who Spelled Freedom for which he earned a Christopher Award. For his work on Lonesome Dove, Wincer won an Emmy for Best Director. The show went on to win six more and was nominated for 18 Emmys. Following his success with Free Willy, Wincer's films have been of decidedly uneven quality.