Joan Tewkesbury

Screenwriter, Director, Choreographer
Enmeshed in a failing marriage and with two young children in tow, Joan Tewkesbury never stopped to consider her limitations, parlaying her experience as a stage director into work as a script girl for Robert Altman on ... Read more »
Born: 04/07/1936 in Redlands, California, USA

Filmography

Director (15)

The Guardian 1985 - 1987, 1990 - 1993, 1998 - 1999, 2001 - 2004 (Tv Show)

Director

Doogie Howser, M.D. 1985 - 1987, 1990 - 1993, 1998 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Director

Felicity 1985 - 1987, 1998 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Director

Picket Fences 1985 - 1987, 1992 - 1993, 1998 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Director

Strangers 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Director

Sudie & Simpson 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Director

Elysian Fields 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Director

Alfred Hitchcock Presents 1985 - 1987 (Tv Show)

Director

Old Boyfriends 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Cold Sassy Tree (TV Show)

Director

On Promised Land (TV Show)

Director

Scattering Dad (TV Show)

Director

The Acorn People (TV Show)

Director

The Tenth Month (TV Show)

Director

Wild Texas Wind (TV Show)

Director
Writer (3)

A Night in Heaven 1983 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Nashville 1975 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Thieves Like Us 1974 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Actor (3)

The Player 1992 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Thieves Like Us 1974 (Movie)

(Actor)

Biography

Enmeshed in a failing marriage and with two young children in tow, Joan Tewkesbury never stopped to consider her limitations, parlaying her experience as a stage director into work as a script girl for Robert Altman on "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" (1971). Her skills honed in the nurturing womb of New Hollywood, which rejected sexist prohibitions and encouraged collaboration, instinct and improvisation, Tewkesbury found fame at age 40, scripting Altman's Depression era crime drama "Thieves Like Us" (1974) and his Academy Award-winning masterpiece "Nashville" (1975). Suddenly a hot commodity in the film industry, Tewkesbury turned down more jobs than she accepted, ultimately bargaining her way into a bid as a first-time feature director with "Old Boyfriends" (1979), a collaboration with screenwriter brothers Leonard and Paul Schrader. The poor box office for Tewkesbury's directorial debut drove her back to the stage, and to television, where she earned high marks for her teleplays "The Tenth Month" (1979), "The Acorn People" (1979), and "Cold Sassy Tree" (1989). Proving herself a reliable director-for-hire, Tewkesbury helmed episodes of such acclaimed weekly series as "Northern Exposure" (1990-95) and "Chicago Hope" (1994-2000) while contributing a cameo to former mentor Robert Altman's "The Player" (1992). Focusing on theatrical work in later life, Tewkesbury kept a hand in cinema by mentoring young filmmakers via workshops, proving herself less interested in making her reputation than in making a difference.

Relationships

Robert F Maguire III

Husband
married on November 30, 1960 divorced in January 1973

Robin Tewkesbury

Child

Peter Harlan

Son

Walter Tewkesbury

Father

Frances Tewkesbury

Mother

EDUCATION

American School of Dance

1947 - 1954

Mount San Antonio Junior College

Walnut , California 1956 - 1958

University of Southern California

Los Angeles , California 1958 - 1960

Milestones

1989

Wrote, directed, and co-executive produced "Elysian Fields", a pilot not picked up by CBS which aired on its Summer Playhouse

1979

TV movie directing and writing debut, "The Tenth Month"

1979

Directed first feature film, "Old Boyfriends" (also co-wrote screenplay with Ppaul Schrader)

1978

Was playwright and director of off-off Broadway production, "Cowboy Jack Street"

1976

Wrote and made directorial debut on documentary about Anna Freud, "Hampstead Center"

1975

First solo screenplay credit, "Nashville"

1974

First credit as screenwriter; co-wrote "Thieves Like Us"

1970

Handled continuity for Robert Altman's "McCabe and Mrs Miller"; credited as Joan Maguire

1955

TV debut, as Ostrich in TV broadcast of "Peter Pan"

1954

Worked as dancer and as flying understudy in Broadway and Los Angeles productions of Mary Martin's "Peter Pan"

1947

Appeared as dancer in MGM film, "Unfinished Dance" at age 11

Directed episodes of the new Alfred Hitchcock Presents from 1986

Worked as director and choreographer of theater productions in Los Angeles

Did choreography for films made in Los Angeles area

Bonus Trivia

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Tewkesbury has taught dance and drama at the following schools: American School of Dance, Los Angeles (1959-69); Immaculate Heart College, Los Angeles (1960-63); USC, Los Angeles (1966-69). She also taught film writing at UCLA in 1986.

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From 1965 to 1968 Tewkesbury was involved with both the USC Repertory Company and the London and Edinburgh Arts Festivals as choreographer, director, and actress.

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