Alex Winter is a famous actor and director who was widely recognised in the 80s thanks to his roles in classic films such as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and The Lost Boys. He also starred in the fantasy black comedy Freaked (1993) opposite Brooke Shields and is a director and theatre actor too. No way! (Way.)

Although he will probably best known for his role as Bill S. Preston Esq. in the Bill & Ted films, there are still some surprising facts about this classic 80s performer.

10. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves are best friends in real life

Bill and Ted aren’t just best buddies on-screen: star duo Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter really are inseparable in real life, with Winter going so far as to say “I think of him as my brother.” Speaking to the Irish News in 2020, Winter explained, “Keanu is just a close friend I’ve had my whole life and I’ve watched him go through life, he’s watched me go through life, he’s known my kids since they were born.”

“It was quite nice for both of us to come back and get to perform together again [in Bill & Ted Face The Music],” he added. “It is a bit like a band coming back because while we hang out a lot, we don’t play, as it were. We just got right back into a groove on day one and we were finishing each others’ sentences and all of that affinity we have.” Reeves was just as happy to return to the Bill & Ted franchise in 2019, saying about Winter: “the way that we can share our sense of humor and laugh in the work is something that I don’t get anywhere else.”

9. He was actually born in London

Credit: Monica Schipper via Getty Images

Did you know that Alex Winter is actually a British-American actor? He was born in London on 17th July 1965 to an American mother and an Australian father. In fact, he spent over five years of his life in the UK before the family relocated to Missouri.

Alex Winter still retains dual British-American citizenship this day. He was raised in a Jewish family and has an older brother named Stephen.

8. He’s a professionally-trained dancer

Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves with phone box in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Alex Winter trained as a dancer from a very young age, which makes a lot of sense considering that his father Ross actually owned a dance troupe called the Mid American Dance Company.

Winter received an excellent education in performing arts and was accepted to the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts in New York. His Broadway credits include The King and I and Peter Pan. Nice!

7. He originally auditioned for the role of Ted in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, not Bill

Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. They returned to co-star in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey

Winter achieved world-wide success with the lead role of Bill in Bill &Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. However, the film could have turned out very different indeed.

In a bogus turn of events, Alex originally auditioned for the role of Ted, while Keanu Reeves auditioned for the role of Bill. In the end, they switched parts and 80s movie magic was created, with Keanu Reeves also reprising his role for both sequels.

6. He used to get hate mail from English teachers (and fan mail from History teachers)

Another scene from Bill and Ted

Unfortunately, Winter got a very mixed response when it came to fan mail. At first, the actor was pleasantly surprised to receive plenty of letters from history teachers thanking him for how much Bill & Ted had encouraged their students to learn more about the subject.

However, Winter also got a lot of angry mail from English teachers who complained that the film had really affected the way that their students spoke. Bogus!

5. His first major Hollywood movie was The Lost Boys

Winter as Marko in The Lost Boys

This is a pretty cool ‘first film’ to put down on your acting resume! The Lost Boys is one of the best cult movies of the 80s, and it turned out to be Winter’s first ever part in a big Hollywood film.

Winter joined the cast of the 1987 movie as Marko, one of the hot young vampires that terrorise the city of Santa Carla.

4. The Lost Boys was technically his first summer job

The Lost Boys in action

Technically this iconic movie was actually a summer job for Winter because he was still in the middle of studying at the Tisch school when he accepted the role. Winter has since stated that he had lots of fun hanging out in Santa Cruz, California with the likes of Jamie Wirth and Kiefer Sutherland.

The film was completed in only three weeks on an $8.5 million budget. Fans will remember that Alex’s character Marko was the first vampire to die – apparently, the fake blood used in the movie had glitter added to it in order for it to make more of an impact on screen.

3. He made his professional acting debut at the age of just ten years old

Alex made his stage debut when he was just ten years old in a St Louis Opera production of Oliver!. The production was a huge success.

Winter played one of the urchins in Fagin’s gang, who liked to pick a pocket or two. The role of Fagin was played by the horror film veteran Vincent Price, who also toured with the production.

2. He hosted the highest-funded Kickstarter campaign for a documentary in crowdfunding history

In 2015, Alex Winter started working on a biographical documentary of the legendary Frank Zappa. The Zappa family happily gave Alex their blessing for the documentary to go ahead, and the actor/director started a fundraising campaign in order to get enough money to start filming.

A Kickstarter campaign was launched which became the highest-funded Kickstarter for a documentary in crowdfunding history.

But this wasn’t Winter’s first foray as a documentary filmmaker. He previously directed the documentary films Deep Web and Downloaded, which explore the strange and secretive recesses of the internet. In 2018, Winter created The Panama Papers and Trust Machine: The Story Of Blockchain, both of which premiered in Los Angeles.

1. He’s good friends with the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Alex Winter in the video for Knock Me Down

In 1989, Alex appeared in the music video for the Red Hot Chili Peppers track ‘Knock Me Down’. Winter was friends with the band and agreed to appear in this production, which was released on 22nd August 1989. He also featured in another Chili Peppers music video for the track ‘Higher Ground’.