New York City native Harold Becker studied art and photography at the prestigious Pratt Institute and began his career as a designer and stills photographer. He segued to directing TV commercials and short films, including the award-winning "Ivanhoe Donaldson." In 1972, Becker made his feature debut as co-director and co-producer (with Souter Harris) with "The Ragman's Daughter," a superb, if somewhat forgotten, low-budget romance set in England and featuring strong performances from Victoria Tennant and Simon Rouse. Indeed, eliciting fine work from actors would become a hallmark of Becker's directing career. Over the course of his career, he would be responsible for helming vehicles that would showcase future stars ranging from James Woods and Ted Danson to Sean Penn and Tom Cruise.