After graduating high school, Dick McWhorter decided to move to California and was able to obtain work as a messenger boy at Columbia Pictures in 1933. He worked his way up through the studio, breaking down scripts and working in the Locations department until he found his true calling. Wanting to become a director, McWhorter heard about a gathering of the biggest directors in Hollywood at the time and decided to attend. There he witnessed one of the first meetings of the nascent Screen Directors Guild. In 1937, McWhorter joined the newly formed Screen Directors Guild as a Second AD. Throughout his career McWhorter worked with many legendary Directors and Producers, but most notably forged a long-lasting personal and professional relationships with King Vidor, Frank Capra, William Dieterle, Daniel Mann, Cecil B. DeMille and producer Hal Wallis. His jobs took McWhorter all over the globe, and he became known as particularly reliable AD/UPM for international location shoots with large budgets.
A career crew member, McWhorter worked steadily as an Assistant Director, Unit Production Manager and Producer from the 1930s right up until his retirement in the early 1990s. As an Assistant Director, McWhorter worked on such films as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Arizona (1940), Frenchman’s Creek (1944), Love Letters (1945), Welcome Stranger (1947), Unconquered (1947), Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), Samson and Delilah (1949), September Affair (1950), Come Back, Little Sheba (1952), His Majesty O’Keefe (1954), and The Rose Tattoo (1955). As Unit Production Manager his credits include Broken Lace (1954), The Bachelor Party (1957), Kings Go Forth (1958), Solomon and Sheba (1959), The Taming of the Shrew (1967), Portnoy’s Complaint (1972), The Count of Monte Cristo (1975), Matilda (1978), Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982), Table for Five (1983), The Love Boat (1985-86), The Trouble with Spies (1987), and Prancer (1989).