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.