Perry established himself as a TV documentary producer before making an acclaimed feature directorial debut with "David and Lisa" (1962), written by his wife Eleanor. A sensitive, finely acted portrait of two mentally disturbed teenagers, the black-and-white film was shot on a minimal budget and possessed a distinctly independent tone. Perry and his wife collaborated on several more offbeat and savvy studies of social mores, notably their adaptation of the John Cheever short story, "The Swimmer" (1968; direction completed by Sydney Pollack) and "Diary of a Mad Housewife" (1970). Perry's work, always earnest if rather obvious, suffered somewhat following his divorce in 1970 but he returned to form with the spoof western, "Rancho Deluxe" (1976), scripted by novelist Thomas McGuane. He scored another popular success with the suburban satire "Compromising Positions" (1985).