Joan Tewkesbury has worked in theater, film and television as a dancer, choreographer, actress, writer, director and producer. Making her directorial debut in 1979 with the feature film Old Boyfriends, she went on to direct and write movies for television such as The Tenth Month, The Acorn People, Cold Sassy Tree, and
Scattering Dad. Other long form directing credits include Sudie and Simpson, Wild Texas Wind, and On Promised Land. Tewkesbury has also directed for television series like Alfred Hitchcock Presents; CBS Summer Playhouse; Shannon’s Deal; Northern Exposure; Doogie Howser M.D., Felicity, Picket Fences, and The Guardian, which she also executive produced.
Tewkesbury began her career in show business as an actress, appearing in television series such as Producers’ Showcase, My Three Sons, and The Long Hot Summer. She also appeared in Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Thieves Like Us, and Nashville. Tewkesbury co-wrote the screenplay for Thieves Like Us and wrote Nashville, for which she was nominated for a WGA Award, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Film Award in 1976, winning the LA Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay in 1975.
Joan Tewkesbury has been a member of the DGA's Movies for Television Committee and served on the Western Directors Council from 1999-2002.