This actor switched careers mid-stream and became a director of film and TV in the mid-1980s. The son of TV producer Dorothea Petrie and director Daniel Petrie (and brother of screenwriter/director/producer Daniel Petrie Jr), he began his entertainment career playing small roles on "Quincy," "The Waltons" and "Three's Company" and in features such as in "The Turning Point" (1978), "H.O.T.S." (1979) and "Fort Apache, the Bronx" (1981).
At the urging of his father, Petrie attended the American Film Institute, where he made "The Expert," an award-winning student short about a day in the life of a doctor who must supervise a gas-chamber execution. He next moved on to TV and began helming first-season episodes of "MacGyver" (1985), "The Equalizer" (1986) and "L.A. Law" (his 1986 episode earned him Emmy and Director's Guild nominations). Petrie also got to direct venerable TV icon Sid Caesar in the "Mr. Magic" episode of Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories." In 1986 Petrie earned another Emmy nomination for directing "Have You Tried Talking to Patty?," a CBS Schoolbreak Special about a troubled hearing-impaired teen.
Petrie shifted to features with "Mystic Pizza" (1988), a modest effort that flirted with sentimentality but was buoyed by fine performances from Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor and Vincent D'Onofrio. His lackluster follow-up was the Dana Carvey vehicle "Opportunity Knocks" (1990). Petrie fared somewhat better with "Grumpy Old Men" (1993) if only due to enjoyable contributions from a trio of old pros: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret (he did not, however, direct the film's 1995 sequel). His romantic comedy "The Favor" (with then-unknown Brad Pitt) was filmed in the early 90s and released in 1994 after Pitt became a star, followed by the children's comedy "Richie Rich" (1994). In "The Associate" (1996), Petrie directed Whoopi Goldberg and Tim Daly in another light comedy in which Goldberg fights the glass ceiling by disguising herself as a white man. Petrie's follow-ups did little to distinguish him beyond "Grumpy Old Men" and he soon returned to television, directing series such as "Chicago Hope" to bolster his resume. His 1999 return to features, with the big-screen adaptation of the '60s TV sitcom "My Favorite Martian," failed to produce many laughs or box office dollars, but his next outing teamed him with A-list star Sandra Bullock in "Miss Congeniality" (2000), a comedy in which tough FBI agent Bullock goes undercover as a beauty pageant contestant. The result was a light-as-a-feather comedy that pleased crowds and raked up an impressive box office tally. Proving that he fared better with a lighter touch and more romantic tone, Petrie next helmed the comedy "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" (2003), in which stars Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey fall in love despite their calculated attempts to get the other to call off their budding relationship.
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Moved to Los Angeles
Made feature acting debut in "The Turning Point"
TV movie debut, "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" (NBC)
Last feature appearance, "Fort Apache, the Bronx"
Made TV directorial debut with "MacGyver" (ABC)
Helmed first feature film, "Mystic Pizza"
Directed Dana Carvey in his film debut, "Opportunity Knocks"
Had a major box office hit with "Grumpy Old Men," starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau
Helmed the big screen adaptation of "Richie Rich," starring Macauley Culkin in the title role
Directed Whoopi Goldberg in the gender-switching comedy, "The Associate"
Directed an episode of the short-lived NBC series, "Players"
Directed episodes of the short-lived FOX series, "The Opposite Sex"
Helmed the big-screen adaptation of the 1960s TV sitcom, "My Favorite Martian"
Teamed with star Sandra Bullock for the hit beauty pageant comedy, "Miss Congeniality"
Directed Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey in the romantic comedy "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days"
Helmed the comedy, "Welcome to Mooseport," starring Gene Hackman and Ray Romano
Directed Lindsay Lohan in the comedy, "Just My Luck"
Directed the romantic comedy, "My Life in Ruins"; starring and co-scripted by Nia Vardalos