Arkansas-born and Burbank-raised Sam O'Steen began his career as an assistant editor in 1956 and, from the early 1960s on, cut several superbly crafted Hollywood productions. He garnered his first Oscar nomination for his initial collaboration with director Mike Nichols, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966). Over the next three decades, the pair enjoyed a long association that encompassed such groundbreaking films as "The Graduate" (1967) and "Carnal Knowledge" (1971) to more popular movies like "Silkwood" (1983) and "Working Girl" (1988). Among his other important credits are "Rosemary's Baby" (1968) and "Chinatown" (1974).
O'Steen made his directorial debut with the TV-movie "A Brand New Life" (ABC, 1973) which featured an Emmy-winning performance by lead Cloris Leachman. He earned an Emmy nod for his stylish direction of the romantic drama "Queen of the Stardust Ballroom" (CBS, 1975) before tackling the small screen sequel "Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby" (ABC, 1976). That same year, O'Steen made his sole foray into motion picture direction with "Sparkle", a genial if slightly slick look at the rise of a female black singer group (not unlike the Supremes). As a director, he also scored with the 1981 ABC drama "The Best Little Girl in the World", a disturbing look at a teenager struggling with anorexia nervosa.