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Daniel Petrie
Daniel Mannix Petrie

(1920-11-26)November 26, 1920
DiedAugust 22, 2004(2004-08-22) (aged 83)
EducationSt. Francis Xavier University
Columbia University
Occupation(s)Director, educator, writer
Years active1949–2001
(m. 1946⁠–⁠2004)
ChildrenDaniel, Donald, June, Mary

Daniel Mannix Petrie[1] (November 26, 1920 – August 22, 2004) was a Canadian film, television, and stage director who worked in Canada, Hollywood, and the United Kingdom; known for directing grounded human dramas often dealing with taboo subject matter. He was one of several Canadian-born expatriate filmmakers, including Norman Jewison and Sidney J. Furie, to find critical and commercial success overseas in the 1960s due to the limited opportunities in the Canadian film industry at the time. He was the patriarch of the Petrie filmmaking family, with four of his children all working in the film industry.

Beginning his career in television, he made his critical and popular breakthrough directing the 1961 film version of the Lorraine Hansberry play A Raisin in the Sun, which won the Gary Cooper Award at the Cannes Film Festival. He directed over 90 films and television programs until his retirement in 2001, winning several accolades (including three Primetime Emmy Awards) in the process. His semi-autobiographical 1984 film The Bay Boy won the Genie Award for Best Motion Picture.

Throughout his life, Petrie maintained strong ties to the academic world, serving as the deputy chairman of the American Film Institute from 1986 to 1987.

Early life and education

Petrie was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada, the son of Mary Anne (née Campbell) and William Mark Petrie, a soft-drink manufacturer.[1] He achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Communications at St. Francis Xavier University before completing a Masters in adult education at Columbia University. Petrie also served in the Canadian Army during World War II.[2]

He moved to the United States in 1945,[1] and began his career teaching at Northwestern University and Creighton University, where he was head of the theatre department until 1950. Although Petrie stopped teaching, he maintained a strong relationship with the academic world throughout his career, holding a faculty position at the American Film Institute, where he also acted as deputy chairman from 1986 to 1987.


Petrie started working as a television director in 1950. His signature film A Raisin in the Sun (1961) was assigned to him after it was refused to its original director on Broadway, future National Medal of Arts honoree Lloyd Richards, because Richards was black. The movie maintained the award-winning cast and performances it had had on Broadway during its two-year successful run under Richards' direction, and the film version was nominated for the Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival. Petrie went on to have a fulfilling movie directing career because of the success of this movie; Richards did not get an opportunity to direct a movie again until 1995.[3]

Petrie directed Buster and Billie (1974); the Academy Award-nominated Resurrection (1980); Fort Apache, The Bronx (1981); and Cocoon: The Return (1988).

Petrie also directed television movies, such as Sybil, Eleanor and Franklin, Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years, The Dollmaker, My Name Is Bill W., Mark Twain and Me, Kissinger and Nixon, Inherit the Wind, and Wild Iris.

Petrie's theatrical films were rarely box-office successes, but they often featured large, well-known casts, such as The Betsy (1978), starring Laurence Olivier, Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall. His films feature the earliest starring screen appearances by such stars as Winona Ryder (Square Dance - she first appeared in a supporting role in Lucas) and Kiefer Sutherland (The Bay Boy). As a television director he won multiple Emmy and Directors Guild of America Awards.


Petrie died of cancer in 2004 in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 83.[4]



Year Title Notes
1960 The Bramble Bush Feature directorial debut
1961 A Raisin in the Sun
1962 The Main Attraction
1963 Stolen Hours
1966 The Idol
1966 The Spy with a Cold Nose
1973 The Neptune Factor First Canadian film
1974 Buster and Billie
1976 Lifeguard
1978 The Betsy
1980 Resurrection
1981 Fort Apache the Bronx
1982 Six Pack
1984 The Bay Boy Also screenwriter
1987 Square Dance
1988 Rocket Gibraltar
1988 Cocoon: The Return
1994 Lassie
1997 The Assistant Also screenwriter and producer


Year Title Notes
1950 Studs' Place 3 episodes
1950–51 The Billy Rose Show 9 episodes
1952 Short Short Dramas Episode: "Success Story"
1952–53 Treasury Men in Action 2 episodes
1953 The Revlon Mirror Theater 2 episodes
1954 The Motorola Television Hour Episode: "Nightmare in Algiers"
1954 Justice 21 episodes
1954–55 Armstrong Circle Theatre 3 episodes
1954–55 The Elgin Hour 8 episodes
1954–56 Omnibus 3 episodes
1955 Studio One Episode: "Julius Caesar"
1955–56 Joe and Mabel 6 episodes
1955–56 Goodyear Playhouse 2 episodes
1955–59 The United States Steel Hour 6 episodes
1956 Air Power Episode: "The Early Days"
1956 The Alcoa Hour Episode: "The Stingiest Man in Town"
1957–61 DuPont Show of the Month 6 episodes
1958 Shirley Temple's Storybook Episode: "Rumpelstilskin"
1958 Playhouse 90 Episode: "Turn Left at Mount Everest"
1958 Kraft Television Theatre Episode: "The Last of the Belles"
1958 Pursuit Episode: "Epitaph for a Golden Girl"
1959 The Play of the Week Episode: "The Cherry Orchard"
1960 The Art Carney Special Episode: "Victory"
1960 The David Susskind Show Episode: "6 December 1960"
1961 'Way Out Episode: "I Heard You Calling Me"
1961 Great Ghost Tales Episode: "William Wilson"
1962–65 The Defenders 5 episodes
1963 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Episode: "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"
1963–64 East Side/West Side 3 episodes
1965 Profiles in Courage Episode: "John Peter Altgeld"
1965 For the People Episode: "Guilt Shall Not Escape Nor Innocence Suffer"
1965 The Doctors and The Nurses 2 episodes
1965 Seaway 2 episodes
1967 N.Y.P.D. 4 episodes
1969 Insight Episode: "A Thousand Red Flowers"
1969 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Episode: "The Rebellion of the Body"
1969 Strange Report 2 episodes
1969–71 Marcus Welby, M.D. 6 episodes
1969–71 Medical Center 7 episodes
1970 The Interns Episode: "An Afternoon in the Fall"
1970 San Francisco International Airport Episode: "The High Cost of Nightmares"
1970–72 Ironside 2 episodes
1971 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers Episode: "The Hyland Confession"
1971 The Man and the City Episode: "Hands of Love"
1971 The Name of the Game Episode: "The Showdown"
1971–73 McMillan & Wife 2 episodes
1972 Hec Ramsey Episode: "The Century Turns"
1972–73 Banyon 2 episodes

Telefilms and limited series

Year Title Notes
1969 Silent Night, Lonely Night
1971 Big Fish, Little Fish
1971 The City
1971 A Howling in the Woods
1971 Young Marrieds at Play
1972 Moon of the Wolf
1973 Trouble Comes to Town
1974 Mousey
1974 The Gun and the Pulpit
1975 Returning Home
1976 Eleanor and Franklin
1976 Harry S. Truman: Plain Speaking
1976 Sybil
1977 Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years
1977 The Quinns
1984 The Dollmaker
1985 The Execution of Raymond Graham
1986 Half a Lifetime
1989 My Name Is Bill W.
1991 Mark Twain and Me
1992 A Town Torn Apart
1995 Kissinger and Nixon
1996 Calm at Sunset
1998 Monday After the Miracle
1999 Inherit the Wind
1999 Seasons of Love
2001 Walter and Henry
2001 Wild Iris

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
1962 Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directing – Feature Film A Raisin in the Sun Nominated
1963 Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television The Defenders (Episode: "The Benefactor") Nominated
1970 Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television Silent Night, Lonely Night Nominated
1972 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series The Man and the City (Episode: "Hands of Love") Nominated
1972 Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series - Night The Man and the City (Episode: "Hands of Love") Won
1977 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy Eleanor and Franklin Won
1978 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years Won
1985 Genie Awards Best Screenplay The Bay Boy Won
1986 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special The Execution of Raymond Graham Nominated
1989 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special My Name Is Bill W. Nominated
1989 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Television Movie My Name Is Bill W. Nominated
1992 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Mark Twain and Me Nominated
1992 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Children's Program Mark Twain and Me Won
1993 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries or a Special A Town Torn Apart Nominated
2005 Directors Guild of Canada Lifetime Achievement Award Won

Film festivals

Year Festival Category Work Result
1961 Cannes Film Festival Gary Cooper Award A Raisin in the Sun Won
1961 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or A Raisin in the Sun Nominated
1981 Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival Special Jury Award Resurrection Won
1997 Verona Love Screens Film Festival Best Film The Assistant Nominated

The Petrie family

Petrie was married for 57 years to Dorothea Grundy Petrie, an Emmy-winning film and television producer. Their sons were Daniel and Donald, both successful directors and screenwriters. Their twin daughters were former MGM executive June and actor/writer Mary. In 2002, the family as a whole was awarded the American Film Institute's Platinum Circle Award to recognise their collective creative contributions.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ a b c "Daniel Petrie Biography (1920-)". Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  2. ^ Daniel Petrie; Prolific film and television director in sympathy with his actors The Guardian. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  3. ^ "Lloyd Richards, A Remembrance". Movie City News. July 7, 2006. Archived from the original on May 8, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  4. ^ Oliver, Myrna (2004-08-24). "Daniel Petrie Sr., 83; Award-Winning Director". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  5. ^ "AFI ASSOCIATES TO HONOR HOLLYWOOD'S PETRIE FAMILY WITH FOURTH ANNUAL 'PLATINUM CIRCLE AWARD'" (PDF) (Press release). American Film Institute. 2002-08-26. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  6. ^ Adams, James (2004-08-25). "Petrie put mark on Hollywood". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  7. ^ Caulfield, Deborah (1985-08-12). "The Petrie Family: A Life In Show Business". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-11-26.