Winnie Lightner was an unlikely star but momentarily shone brightly at Warner Brothers. After her debut as the brassy friend in Gold Diggers of Broadway, Warners signed her as a star for their slate of new musicals. Lightner’s fine comedic chops and hammy singing made her a natural, and was one of the few who could overcome the static camera setups of early 1930 through sheer charm.

Unfortunately the musical busted in 1931 and Lightner didn’t fare so well in dramatic roles. She did a few supporting jobs but retired from show business in 1934.

Winnie Lightner’s Pre-Code Filmography

  • Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929)
  • She Couldn’t Say No (1930)
  • Hold Everything (1930)
  • The Life of the Party (1930)
  • Sit Tight (1931)
  • “The Stolen Jools” (1931)
  • Gold Dust Gertie (1931)
  • Side Show (1931)
  • Manhattan Parade (1931)
  • Play-Girl (1932)
  • She Had to Say Yes (1933)
  • Dancing Lady (1933)
  • I’ll Fix It (1934)


Videos of Winnie Lightner

Lightner’s first big film role in The Gold Diggers of Broadway in the only footage that survives:

Lightner sings “Take a Look at This, Take a Look at That”:

Lightner outblusters a trio of would-be suitors (and all ex-husbands) in a clip from Gold Dust Gertie:

Winnie Lightner Sites and Links

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