With partner Burt Lancaster, one of the first Hollywood producers to break away from the traditional studio system and to handle every aspect of film production on an independent basis. Hecht first came to Hollywood as a dance director on several features of the early 1930s including the Marx Bros. college romp, "Horsefeathers" (1932) and the Mae West classic "She Done Him Wrong" (1933). He had previously performed on the New York stage as an actor and a dancer. Hecht began studying at the prestigious American Laboratory Theater at 16 and appeared in various local classical productions during his five-year stint there. He went on to dance with the Metropolitan Opera and Martha Graham companies.