Born in Australia in 1943, Simon Wincer developed an interest in television production when he accompanied his father to a local television station on a delivery. Being drawn to the work, he was helped obtain a job by his cousin, Eric Pearce, a television host in Melbourne, at the Australian Broadcast Corporation. There he worked his way up from the mailroom, moving from studio hand to floor manager to cameraman to occasional fill-in director. He then took a job in London as a theater director for several years before moving back home to Australia where he found work on Australian television throughout the 1970s on series as such Division 4, Cash and Company, Matlock Police, Homicide and Tandarra, among others, before making his feature film debut with Harlequin in 1980. He then directed the first of many projects that involved horses—a passion of Wincer’s—the Australian feature Phar Lap (1983), before joining the DGA to direct the family sci-fi film D.A.R.Y.L. (1985).
Throughout his career, Wincer worked interchangeably between feature films, mini-series and television series, helming such films as The Lighthorsemen (1987) Quigley Down Under (1990), Free Willy (1993), Operation Dumbo Drop (1995), The Phatom (1996), Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001), The Young Black Stallion (2003), NASCAR: The IMAX Experience (2004) and The Cup (2011). His television work includes arguably his most well-known project, the epic Western mini-series Lonesome Dove (1989), as well as many other critically acclaimed Western and/or adventure dramas; The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992-93), Crossfire Trail (2001), Ponderosa (2001), Monte Walsh (2003), Into the West (2005) and the prequel to Lonesome Dove — Comanche Moon (2008).
For his directorial achievements, Wincer was nominated for the DGA’s Movies for Television/Mini-Series Award for Lonesome Dove, which also won him a Primetime Emmy for his directing.