While he may be best known for playing James "Hollywood" Hayward on the high school sports series "The White Shadow," actor Thomas Carter has become a successful producer and director of urban dramas. His career began in the mid-1970s with a string of TV roles that led to basketball braggart Hayward on "The White Shadow." But after a year on the show, Carter expanded into the role of director, helming four episodes before the series wrapped in 1981. From there, he pursued work as a television director, excelling on episodes of such popular '80s sitcoms as "Fame," the high school musical drama, and the gripping medical drama "St. Elsewhere." By decade's end, he had expanded his repertoire to include producing, and in 1993, he made his feature film directorial debut with "Swing Kids," the Nazi Germany-set tale of rebellion, which featured a young Christian Bale. The swing dancing and strong soundtrack attracted a cult following to the picture despite middling reviews. He followed this with "Metro," the Eddie Murphy crime comedy that flopped at the box office, but Carter rebounded in 2001 with "Save the Last Dance," the hip-hop infused romance starring Julia Stiles. The teen drama was a huge financial success, allowing Carter to executive produce and direct the Samuel L. Jackson vehicle "Coach Carter," which centered on a determined basketball coach's quest to do right by his players. In 2009, Carter directed the tv movie "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story," and received a DGA award nomination.
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Feature film directorial debut, "Swing Kids"