Donald Petrie biography
Son of director Daniel Petrie and brother of director/writer Daniel Petrie Jr., Donald
was born in Manhattan and moved to Los Angeles while still in his teens. His
entertainment family also includes his mother who is a producer, sisters Mary (a writer)
and June, former vice-president of MGM/UA studios.
He began his entertainment career as
a television actor and then decided to follow in his father's profession and took up
He was accepted at the prestigious American Film Institute where he made the short
film, The Expert. The film caught the eye of Steven Spielberg who asked Petrie to
direct an episode of his Amazing Stories television series.
Petrie accepted the
challenge and sat in the director's chair for the "Mister Magic" episode, starring
Petrie continued working in television and began a fruitful period directing several
hours of a number of series, but only within their first seasons.
MacGyver, L.A. Law (for which he was nominated for a Directors Guild of America
Award) and The Equalizer. He received an Emmy nomination for the Afterschool Special
"Have you Tried Talking to Patty?"
The Samuel Goldwyn Company then summoned Petrie to direct his first feature, Mystic
Pizza (1988) starring Julia Roberts, Annabeth Gish and Lili Taylor.
Looking at the
lives of three young working-class women in a seaside town, the film was applauded
by both critics and audiences.
The film would also earn Petrie an Independent Spirit
Award for Best First Feature.
He followed this success with two more comedies, Opportunity Knocks (1990) and the
ever popular Grumpy Old Men (1993), before settling down to television again to direct
episodes of Chicago Hope.
His luck began to change however, when he attempted to do kids' films directing Richie
Rich (1994), and My Favorite Martian (1999), both of which performed dismally at
the box office.
Since the start of the new millennium, Petrie has kept busy directing comedies such as Miss
Congeniality (2000) starring Sandra Bullock, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) starring Kate Hudson, Welcome to Mooseport (2004) starring Ray Romano and Just My Luck (2006) starring Lindsay Lohan.
Donald Petrie Filmography