Winant was raised in the farm town of Marysville, California. She enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley to study law or medicine, but became fascinated by theater as a member of the school’s thespian troupe. Winant left school to pursue a theatrical career in New York and was hired by famed agents William Liebling and his wife, Audrey Wood, who represented Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, and Gore Vidal. While doing dictation on revisions for a Williams play, she learned how to analyze scripts and later served as a production assistant on two groundbreaking dramas, A Streetcar Named Desire and Death of a Salesman.
Once she had gotten a job at Studio One, she established herself when she found a
replacement, Frank Overton, for an actor who did not show up. She was recruited to
be head of casting for Talent Associates, which produced the prestigious series Philco-