Before director Donald Petrie career also spent time working as an actor in TV series, which offered him by his father in some of his productions. This direction proved to be the wrong decision. 1984 Petrie tried his luck as a director for the first time. His first production was the short movie The Expert.
Steven Spielberg was so impressed by the young talent that in 1985 he offered him the director of his hit TV series Amazing Stories. This established himself Donald Petrie in Hollywood.
Before his start as a movie director, he made the U.S. television series The Equalizer - The Guardian Angel of New York attention to himself, which was sent in German speaking countries from 1987 to 1989 on RTL.
In 1989 he received an Independent Spirit Award, a Film Award for Hollywood independent film productions for his cinema debut film Mystic Pizza.