Director, producer, writer Daniel Petrie Sr. began his show business career in theatre, but quickly moved on to television as a way to better support his family. Petrie’s television directorial debut came in 1949 when he directed episodes of Studs’ Place, where he also served as producer. Throughout the 1950s, Petrie worked steadily as a television director, helming episodes of the series; Studio One, The Revlon Mirror Theatre, Justice, Joe & Mabel, The United States Steel Hour, The Alcoa Hour, and The Dupont Show of the Month; among others.
Petrie continued directing episodic television throughout his career, but in 1960 he directed his first feature film, The Bramble Bush. He followed this with one of his most well-known and critically acclaimed films; 1961’s A Raisin in the Sun which was nominated for the DGA’s Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film Award. He continued to direct features, helming such films as The Main Attraction (1962); The Idol (1966); The Spy With a Cold Nose (1966); The Neptune Factor (1973); Buster and Billie (1974); Lifeguard (1976); The Betsy (1978); Resurrection (1980); Fort Apache the Bronx (1981); Six Pack (1982); The Bay Boy (1984); Square Dance (1987); Rocket Gibraltar (1988); Cocoon: The Return (1988); Lassie (1994); and The Assistant (1997). Petrie was also very accomplished in the world of mini-series and movies for television. He directed such award winning television movies as Harry S. Truman: Plain Speaking (1976); Eleanor and Franklin (1976); Sybil (1976); Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years (1977), The Quinns (1977); The Dollmaker (1984); The Execution of Raymond Graham (1985); Mark Twain and Me (1991); Kissinger and Nixon (1995), Inherit the Wind (1999); and Walter and Henry (2001).
For his directorial achievements (in all genres), Petrie has been nominated for eight Primetime Emmys (winning three), and 11 DGA Awards, winning four; for an episode of The Man and the City in 1972, the movie for television Eleanor and Franklin in 1977, its sequel Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years in 1978 and the movie for television The Dollmaker in 1985. Petrie was also the recipient of the DGA’s Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award for extraordinary service to the Guild. Petrie was a very active member of the Guild, serving on the National Board from 1985-2001, the Western Directors Council from 1991 until his death in 2004, the Directors Guild Foundation from 2002-04, the DGA PAC Leadership Council, and as a member of the Negotiating Committee for the 1984, 1987, 1990, 1996, 1999 and 2002 contract negotiations.