Born Winifred Reeves in Greenport, New York, but was raised in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen by her aunt and uncle Margaret and Andrew Hansen.
Mother of Thomas Del Ruth
Winnie Lightner was the first movie performer in history ever to be censored for what she said or sang on screen rather than for anything she did visually. In 1928 she made a Vitaphone short in which she sang "We Love It," "God Help a Sailor on a Night Like This," "That Brand New Model of Mine," and "We've Got a Lot to Learn." A censorship board in Pennsylvania held the release of the film because of the content of Lightner's songs. According to film historian Alexander Walker, "Warners asked the censors to merely pass judgment on the visuals - the censors refused.".