Coolidge, Martha 1946–

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Coolidge, Martha 1946–


Born August 17, 1946, in New Haven, CT; married Michael Backes (a producer), 1984 (divorced); children: Preston Bradford. Education: Rhode Island School of Design, B.F.A., animation, 1968; New York University Institute of Film and Television, M.F.A., 1971; also attended the School of Visual Arts and Columbia University; studied acting with Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, and Joanne Baron.

Addresses: Agent—Paradigm, 360 North Crescent Dr., North Bldg., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Office—Directors Guild of America, 7920 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046.

Career: Director, producer, writer, and editor. Acted in Blackfriars, a Cheshire, CT, acting group in the 1960s; as an American Film Institute Academy intern, worked with director Robert Wise on Audrey Rose, United Artists, 1977; cofounder, Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers Inc., 1975; directed and appeared in the student film Mondo Linoleum; worked on television commercials and political documentaries; creator of an experimental video for Toyota. American Film Institute, member of board of trustees; Rhode Island School of Design, trustee; New York University Tisch School of the Arts, member of Dean's council.

Member: Directors Guild of America (Western Director's Council member; chair of Creative Rights Committee, 1992–; president, 2002–03; vice president).

Awards, Honors: John Grierson Award, best young director, 1972, Eagle Award, American Film Festival, both for David: Off and On; Blue Ribbon Award, American Film Festival, 1973, for More Than a School; Blue Ribbon Award, American Film Festival, 1973, Golden Eagle Award, CINE, both for Old Fashioned Woman; Blue Ribbon Award, American Film Festival, 1976, for Not a Pretty Picture; Grand Prix, Paris Film Festival, 1986, for Real Genius; Crystal Award, Women in Film Awards, 1992; Independent Spirit Award, best director, Independent Features Project, 1992, for Rambling Rose; Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award, Directors Guild of America, 1998; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding directing for a miniseries, movie, or a special, Directors Guild of America Award nomination, outstanding directorial achievement in movies for television, 2000, both for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge; Directors Guild of America Award nomination, outstanding directorial achievement in movies for television, 2001, for "1972," If These Walls Could Talk 2; Audience Award (with others), Paris Lesbian Film Festival, best film, 2000, for If These Walls Could Talk 2; Forerunner, Method Fest, 2004; Gold Hugo Award, Chicago Film Festival, for Passing Quietly Through; Breakthrough Award, Women, Men and Media.


Film Work:

Producer, editor, and director, David: Off and On (documentary), 1972.

Producer, editor, and director, More Than a School (documentary), 1973.

Producer, director, and editor, Old Fashioned Woman (documentary), Films Inc., 1974.

Executive producer, director, and editor, Not a Pretty Picture (documentary), Other Cinema Ltd., 1976.

Director, Employment Discrimination: The Trouble-shooters, 1976.

Producer and director, Bimbo (short film), 1978.

Director, Valley Girl (also known as Bad Boyz, College Lovers, and Rebel Dreams), Atlantic, 1983.

Producer and director, The City Girl, Moon, 1984.

Director, Joy of Sex (also known as National Lampoon's "The Joy of Sex"), Paramount, 1984.

Director, Real Genius, Tri-Star, 1985.

Director, Plain Clothes (also known as Glory Days), Paramount, 1988.

Director, Rambling Rose, 1991.

Director, Lost in Yonkers (also known as Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers"), 1993.

Director, Angie, 1994.

Director, Three Wishes, 1995.

Director, Out to Sea, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1997.

Director, The Prince & Me (also known as The Prince and Me), Paramount, 2004.

Director, Material Girls, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2006.

Also worked as producer and director, Passing Quietly Through (documentary), and producer and director, The Friendly (short film).

Film Appearances:

Herself, Not a Pretty Picture (documentary), Other Cinema Ltd., 1975.

Herself, Fifty Years of Action! (documentary), Directors Guild of America Golden Jubilee Committee, 1986.

Herself, That's Adequate, Manley/Vidmark Entertainment, 1988.

Herself, Calling the Shots (documentary), World Artists Releasing/Cineplex Odeon, 1988.

Security woman, Beverly Hills Cop III, 1994.

Television Producer; Series:

Magic Tom, 1968.

Television Work; Movies:

Director, Trenchcoat in Paradise, CBS, 1989.

Director, Bare Essentials, CBS, 1991.

Director, Crazy in Love, TNT, 1992.

Director, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, HBO, 1999.

Director, "1972," If These Walls Could Talk, HBO, 2000.

Executive producer, Rip Girls, The Disney Channel, 2000.

Director, The Flamingo Rising, CBS, 2001.

Director, The Ponder Heart, PBS, 2001.

Executive producer, Infidelity, Lifetime, 2004.

Director, The Twelve Days of Christmas Eve, USA Network, 2004.

Television Work; Pilots:

Director, Sledge Hammer! (also known as Sledge Hammer: The Early Years), ABC, 1987.

Director and executive producer, Boston Grace, UPN, 1998.

Television Director; Specials:

Roughhouse (also known as "House and Home"; broadcast as an episode of CBS Summer Playhouse), CBS, 1988.

Television Director; Episodic:

"Strawberries & Gold," Winners, 1978.

"Shelter Skelter," The Twilight Zone, CBS, 1985.

"Night of the Meek," The Twilight Zone, CBS, 1985.

"Quarantine," The Twilight Zone, CBS, 1986.

Leap Years, Showtime, 2001.

"A 'Vogue' Idea," Sex and the City, HBO, 2002.

"I Heart NY," Sex and the City, HBO, 2002.

Hidden Hills, NBC, 2002.

girls club, Fox, 2002.

Huff, Showtime, 2004.

Related, The WB, 2005.

Television Appearances; Specials:

In Search of Oz, Arts and Entertainment, 1993.

Host, Directors on Film: A Conversation about Preservation, AMC, 1994.

Nicolas Cage: Wild at Heart, Art and Entertainment, 1999.

Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Power of Women in Hollywood, TCM, 2000.

Headliners & Legends: Halle Berry, MSNBC, 2001.

(Uncredited) Herself, Who Is Alan Smithee?, AMC, 2002.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Champlin on Film, Bravo, 1989.

"Martha Coolidge," The Directors, Encore, 1999.



David: Off and On, 1972.

More Than a School, 1973.

Old Fashioned Woman, Films Inc., 1974.

Not a Pretty Picture, Other Cinema Ltd., 1976.

(Story only) The London Connection (also known as The Omega Connection), 1979.

(Story only) The City Girl, Moon, 1984.

Also wrote Passing Quietly Through.

Television Episodes:

Magic Tom, 1968.

Disneyland (also known as Disney's Wonderful World, The Disney Sunday Movie, The Magical World of Disney, The Wonderful World of Disney, Walt Disney, Walt Disney Presents, and Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color), 1979.



Literature-Film Quarterly, April, 1999, p. 149.

Los Angeles Times, May 5, 1983, p. 1; July 17, 1984, p. 1.

New York Times, May 6, 1983, p. 22.


Martha Coolidge Website,