Martha Coolidge

Director, Screenwriter, Producer
A proficient director of mainstream Hollywood fare, Martha Coolidge began her career in her native Connecticut as a stage actress appearing with a local theater company. While attending the Rhode Island School of ... Read more »
Born: 08/16/1946 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Filmography

Director (42)

Killer Women 2014 (Tv Show)

Director

Madam Secretary 2014 (Tv Show)

Director

The Night Shift 2014 (Tv Show)

Director

Cult 2013 (Tv Show)

Director

The Glades 2013 (Tv Show)

Director

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 2006 - 2007, 2010 - 2011 (Tv Show)

Director

Drop Dead Diva 2011 (Tv Show)

Director

Nora Roberts' Tribute 2008 - 2009 (TV Show)

Director

Psych 2009 (Tv Show)

Director

Shark 2007 (Tv Show)

Director

Material Girls 2006 (Movie)

(Director)

Related 2006 (Tv Show)

Director

Huff 2005 (Tv Show)

Director

The Twelve Days of Christmas Eve 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Director

The Prince & Me 2004 (Movie)

(Director)

Leap Years 1986 - 1988, 2001 - 2003 (Tv Show)

Director

The Twilight Zone 1985 - 1988, 2001 - 2003 (Tv Show)

Director

girls club 1986 - 1988, 2002 - 2003 (Tv Show)

Director

Sex and the City 2002 (Tv Show)

Director

Out to Sea 1997 (Movie)

(Director)

Three Wishes 1995 (Movie)

(Director)

Angie 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Lost in Yonkers 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Rambling Rose 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

Plain Clothes 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

Roughhouse 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Director

Sledge Hammer! 1986 - 1988 (Tv Show)

Director

Real Genius 1985 (Movie)

(Director)

Joy of Sex 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

The City Girl 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

Valley Girl 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

Not a Pretty Picture 1976 (Movie)

(Director)

Old Fashioned Woman 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

Bare Essentials (TV Show)

Director

Crazy in Love (TV Show)

Director

Glory Days (Movie)

(Director)

If These Walls Could Talk 2 (TV Show)

Director

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (TV Show)

Director

The Flamingo Rising (TV Show)

Director

The Ponder Heart (TV Show)

Director

Trenchcoat in Paradise (TV Show)

Director
Actor (13)

The Directors 1998 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

Who Is Alan Smithee? 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Nicolas Cage: Wild at Heart 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Beverly Hills Cop III 1994 (Movie)

Security Woman (Actor)

In Search of Oz 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Champlin on Film 1989 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

That's Adequate 1989 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Calling the Shots 1988 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

50 Years of Action! 1985 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Not a Pretty Picture 1976 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Indie Sex: Censored (TV Show)

Actor
Producer (5)

Infidelity 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Rip Girls 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The City Girl 1984 (Movie)

(Producer)

Not a Pretty Picture 1976 (Movie)

(Producer)

Old Fashioned Woman 1973 (Movie)

(Producer)
Writer (4)

The City Girl 1984 (Movie)

(From Story)

The Omega Connection 1978 (Movie)

(From Story)

Not a Pretty Picture 1976 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Old Fashioned Woman 1973 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Editor (2)

Not a Pretty Picture 1976 (Movie)

(Editor)

Old Fashioned Woman 1973 (Movie)

(Editor)
Music (1)

Not a Pretty Picture 1976 (Movie)

("The House of the Rising Sun") (Song Performer)

Biography

A proficient director of mainstream Hollywood fare, Martha Coolidge began her career in her native Connecticut as a stage actress appearing with a local theater company. While attending the Rhode Island School of Design, she began to make films and found her true calling, turning out six student films. After further studies at NYC's School of Visual Arts and at Columbia University, she landed her first professional gig as a writer and producer of the Canadian daily children's show "Magic Tom". Returning to the USA, Coolidge enrolled at NYU's Institute of Film and Television and went on to turn out several award-winning documentary portraits, including two of family members, "David: On and Off" (1972), about her brother, and "Old Fashioned Woman" (1974), about her grandmother. These, along with the pseudo-documentary "Not a Pretty Picture" (1976) which reconstructed her high school date rape, helped establish her reputation as a filmmaker.

Relationships

Michael Backes

Husband
married in 1984

Preston Backes

Son
born in December 1988

David Coolidge

Brother
subject of her 1972 documentary "David: Off and On"

Mabel Coolidge

Grandmother
subject of "Old Fashioned Woman" (1974)

EDUCATION

Rhode Island School of Design

Providence , Rhode Island
made six student films, including "Mondo Linoleum" in which she acted opposite Martin Mull

Institute of Film and Television, New York University

New York , New York 1970 - 1971
reportedly worked on 15 student films, including producing and editing "Passing Quietly Through"

Columbia University

New York , New York

trained as actor with Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler and Joanne Baron

School of Visual Arts

New York , New York

Milestones

2006

Directed sisters Hilary and Haylie Duff in the comedy "Material Girls"

2005

Directed the short-lived series, "Related" (WB)

2004

Directed Julia Stiles in the romatic comedy "The Prince and Me"

2002

Directed episodes of the hit HBO series, "Sex and the City"

2001

Helmed "The Ponder Heart" for PBS

2000

Helmed one segment of the tripart "If These Walls Could Talk 2" (HBO), examining the lesbian experience in America

1999

Directed the HBO biopic "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge", produced by and starring Halle Berry; received Emmy nomination

1997

Helmed the feature comedy "Out to Sea", starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau

1995

Directed the family drama "Three Wishes", starring Al Pacino and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

1994

Appeared as a security guard in "Beverly Hills Cop III"

1993

Steered the uneven film version of "Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers", an semi-autobiographical look at the author's upbringing based on his Pulitzer-winning play

1992

Helmed the well-received made-for-cable movie "Crazy in Love" (TNT)

1991

Won acclaim for her direction of "Rambling Rose"; real-life mother and daughter co-stars Laura Dern and Diane Ladd received Oscar nominations for their performances

1989

TV-movie directing debut, "Trenchcoat in Paradise"

1986

Helmed the pilot for the ABC sitcom "Sledge Hammer!"

1985

First big budget ($13 million) Hollywood film, "Real Genius"

1983

Breakthrough feature, "Valley Girl" starring Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman

1978

Worked on rock and roll love story, "Photoplay" for Coppola's Zoetrope Studio (project abandoned when studio began its collapse c. 1980)

1976

As American Film Institute/Academy intern, worked with Robert Wise on his film, "Audrey Rose"

1975

Feature film debut, the semi-autobiographical, pseudo-documentary, "Not a Pretty Picture", about date rape; produced, wrote, directed, edited and starred

1973

Edited, produced, wrote and directed "Old Fashioned Woman", a documentary portrait of her octogenarian grandmother

1972

Wrote, produced, directed and edited the documentary "David: Off and On", about her brother

1968

Wrote and produced daily children's TV show, "Magic Tom" in Canada

Helped start the Association of Independent/Video and Filmmakers

Returned to work on Canadian television

Acted with a local theater company in Connecticut

Raised in New Haven, Connecticut

Bonus Trivia

.

She is a distant cousin of former president Calvin Coolidge.

.

In March 2002, Coolidge became the first female president of the Directors Guild of America when she succeeded Jack Shea who resigned.

.

Awarded the Crystal Award by Women in Film.

.

Awarded the Breakthrough Award by Women, Men & Media.

.

"If a man is demanding and doesn't stand for inefficiency, if he wants things done in a certain way, he will frequently get forceful, Many directors get angry and yell. They may be difficult. And on some level they are worshipped for that."If I do that, I run the risk of being 'shrill', 'a screamer' or 'a bitch'. This is a big dilemma for women directors. There are more people questioning what we can do every day. There are more people thinking they can push us around than there are thinking they can push men around. A director must be demanding and tough. When a woman gets that way she can run into criticism which I consider to be gender-based." --Martha Coolidge to DGA Magazine, November 1998.

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