William Beaudine, Jr. grew up in Hollywood, California, frequently visiting the sets of his father, the acclaimed director William Beaudine. William, Jr. even appeared in several small roles in some of his father’s films including Heroes of the Street and Duke of the Navy. When he was 15, his father, along with the rest of their family, moved to England where he had signed a two-year production contract. When the family returned to Hollywood, Beaudine found it difficult to find work and subsequently told his son not to enter the film business. Nonetheless, William, Jr. began as a second assistant director on the film Philo Vance Returns in 1947, joining the DGA the same year. He worked as an assistant director throughout much of the 1950s on films such as Sea Tiger (1952), Yukon Gold (1952), White Lightning (1953), Trail Blazers (1953), Six Gun Decision (1953), Highway Dragnet (1954), Canyon Crossroads (1956), Westward Ho, the Wagons! (1956), and the series The Public Defender and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.
In 1959 Beaudine secured a job as the unit production manager of the series Lassie, which his father directed on. Beaudine worked on the series as a UPM for twelve years and directed several episodes throughout the 1960s, also becoming a producer in 1967. Throughout the rest of his career Beaudine worked as a producer and unit production manager on several television series, movies-for-television, and feature films, even taking time to direct several episodes of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color throughout the 1970s. Some of Beaudine’s best known projects as UPM and producer are the films The Trial of Billy Jack (1974), Country (1984), the movies-for-television Miracle on Ice (1981), In the Custody of Strangers (1982), Dress Gray (1986), Nutcracker: Money, Madness & Murder (1987), Overkill: The Aileen Wournos Story (1992), as well as the television series Quantum Leap, before retiring in 1995.
For his work in the film and television industry, Beaudine has been nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, for producing Dress Gray in 1986 and Nutcracker: Money, Madness & Murder in 1987. In 1983 Beaudine was awarded the Frank Capra Achievement Award, given to an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager in recognition of their career and service to the industry and the DGA. A very active Guild member during his career, Beaudine served on the Western AD/UPM Council from 1967-94; the National Board from 1960-85 (acting as Secretary-Treasurer from 1979-81); and the Directors Guild Foundation from 1992-2013.