Who Was Winnfred Wilford?

Winnfred Wilford was famous as Debbie Allen’s ex-husband. Debbie is an American singer, actress, dancer, choreographer, director, and producer. Winnfred was born in the United States on March 8, 1939, to Louis Wendell Wilford and Mollie Alexander Wilford. He was the second born in a family of four children; he had two brothers and one sister.

Career and Education

Winnfred Wilford was interested in the entertainment industry since he was young. At 19, he was the bassist for a local R&B group called Upsetters and for the Romeos in Philadelphia. When Winnfred Wilford was 30, he tried to find his feet in the film industry and modeling to earn a living but did not gain any major recognition. In modeling, Winnfred worked for the Ford Modelling Agency.

After featuring in some plays, Winnfred found work in some big entities such as CBS Records, which he later worked for as their president. He also worked for Epic Label for some time, and during his time there, he nurtured artists such as Teddy Pendergrass, Luther Vandross, The Jacksons, and Lou Rawls, among others.

Winnfred was always in touch with the artists in their careers and tried to guide them to success and stardom.

Winnfred Wilford was an educated person, having graduated from Southern Lab School. He also went to Southern University, but details of what he pursued in college were never made public by either him or his wife or ex-wife.

Personal Life

In his personal life, Winnfred Wilford married Debbie Allen on June 22, 1975, in Harris County. The two met for the first time in 1973 while rehearsing an off-Broadway Musical when he was a chorus boy and Debbie was a dancer. Debbie found Winnfred good-looking; despite not talking for a while, she decided to approach Winnfred, and they started dating later.

In 1975, they married and were both happy though they both worked in different cities and were apart most of the time. The distance made things difficult for the two lovebirds, so they ended it in 1983 after eight years of marriage. Despite being together for eight years, the couple had no children.

Life After Divorce

After divorcing Debbie Allen, Winnfred Wilford married Saundra Wilford, and they were blessed with one daughter, Robin Benton-Logan, and three sons, Danton Wilford, Bryant Wilford, and Toland Wilford. Winnfred also continued working as the president of CBS Records, but then sickness kicked in after some time, and he moved back to Baton Rouge, where he spent time with his family.

Debbie Allen also remarried, marrying Norm Nixon, a former basketball player, in 1984, and they have been blessed with three children, Norman Nixon Jr, Vivian Nixon, and DeVaughn Nixon. Debbie continued with her career gaining more fame and adding another Emmy Award to her collection. Over the years, Winnfred’s ex-wife has earned many nominations and awards.


Winnfred Wilford passed on aged 79 on February 9, 2019, at St. Clare Manor. His memorial service was held on February 15, 2019, at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Baton Rouge, and he was buried at the Louisianna National Cemetery.