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Marian Winters was born Marian Weinstein, the eldest of four sisters born to Morris and Sophie Weinstein. Her three sisters, Shirley Zeisel (died 2010), Elaine Singer (died 2014), and Annette Laster, long outlived her. She was raised in New York City. She made her debut in summer stock in her teens. She began her career on Broadway understudying Frances Dee in The Secret Room (1945). She also played Lady Constance in King John, and toured in such plays as Detective Story, The Heiress and Dream Girl.
Winters achieved fame for her role in I Am a Camera as Natalia Landauer. For this performance she was awarded various acting honors including the 1952 Tony Award as a Best Supporting or Featured Actress. In 1955, she played Gelda in the American production of The Dark is Light Enough, a verse drama by Christopher Fry, which starred Katharine Cornell and Tyrone Power. Her last role was in Deathtrap.
Winters authored A IS FOR ALL: THREE ONE ACT PLAYS (comprising Animal Keepers, Assembly Line and All Saints' Day); Dramatists Play service Inc. ISBN 0-8222-0000-7/ISBN 978-08222-0000-0
Her tenure in Deathtrap was cut short due to cancer, which claimed her life on November 3, 1978. She was succeeded in her role (Helga Ten Dorp) by Elizabeth Parrish. The role was played by Irene Worth in the film version.
Winters was married to NBC executive Jay H. Smolin (November 29, 1919 – October 21, 2010) from 1946 or 1947 until her death in 1978. The couple had no children.
- Deathtrap as Helga ten Dorp (February 26, 1978 until October 1978)
- Mating Dance (November 3, 1965 to November 3, 1965)
- Nobody Loves an Albatross as Marge Weber (December 19, 1963 to June 20, 1964)
- The 49th Cousin as Tracy Lowe (October 27, 1960 to January 21, 1961)
- Tall Story as Myra Solomon (January 29, 1959 to May 22, 1959)
- Auntie Mame as Sally Cato MacDougal (October 31, 1956 to June 28, 1958)
- The Dark Is Light Enough as Gelda (February 23, 1955 to April 23, 1955)
- Lux Video Theatre (1952)
- Play of the Week (1960)
- The Defenders (1962)
- The Nurses (1963)
- Paradise Lost (1974)