It’s Oscar time, so meet award-winning actor and APSU alumnus Jerry Winsett
(Posted Feb. 22, 2019)
CLARKSVILLE, TN - During last year’s movie award season, people kept praising the film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” The movie’s star, Frances McDormand, earned a Best Actress Oscar, while cast member Sam Rockwell took home an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. A few weeks earlier, “Three Billboards” received a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. SAG voters might have picked the film because of a powerful scene, where McDormand’s character attacks a dentist named Geoffrey. The actor in that scene is Jerry Winsett, a 1974 Austin Peay State University graduate.
“It (“Three Billboards”) was a really good experience for me,” he said. “I think Martin McDonough is one of the best directors I have ever worked with. At heart, I’m still a stage guy, and he directs like he’s directing theater.”
Throughout his impressive career, Winsett has appeared in movies such as “Paulie,” “Bastard Out of Carolina,” “Torque” and “The Red Cape.” His television credits include “Newhart,” “Mr. Belvedere,” “Coach,” “The Snooker Report” and “The Inspectors.” He has been in more than 450 theatrical productions, and he is well known for appearing in the original Dunkin’ Donuts “Time to Make the Donuts” commercial.
Winsett recently described his experience working with McDormand, saying, “You always worry that when you meet someone you really like, they will not to be a nice person, but she was one of the nicest people,” he said. “I had to give her a shot with a prop needle. The prop guy said, ‘there’s no way to mess this up,’ but I was still worried.”
Winsett also has acted in several acclaimed films of the 1980s, including “Radio Days,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo” and “Stardust Memories.”
“I’ve been blessed to be able to do what I love,” he said. “For me, acting is a spiritual thing. I think that what we do is amazing. People come into this room, or they sit down in front of their TVs, or they go into a movie theater, and for two hours, they don’t think about their mortgage, they don’t think about the argument they just had with their spouse, they don’t think about anything except what is before them. We get to take them out of their lives. It’s difficult when people ask what you do for a living, but I just tell them that I bring people to life. I make a person on a page live, and in doing so, I brighten the lives of other people.”