Joan Tewkesbury is an award-winning writer and director who began as a choreographer. She was born in California. Her father encouraged her to set her career sights on secretarial work but her mother aimed her daughter toward the stage, enrolling her in an El Monte dance school where the curriculum included ballet, tap, acrobatics and personality. She appeared in her first film at age 10. She participated in the USC Festival Theater at the Edinburgh Festival writing, directing and performing plays on street corners. Having seen Altman’s film M*A*S*H, she felt a kinship with the director. Her meeting with Altman led to a job as script supervisor on McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Her association with Altman continued: the result was Nashville, the script for which she earned a British Academy Award nomination and the Los Angeles Critics’ Award. Tewkesbury continued to work on stage and in television.