Actress/director Joan Darling first appeared onstage during the 1960s in New York City's Premise Players, an improvisational theater group. She eventually went on to work both off and on Broadway. In the late '60s and early '70s Darling was cast in leading and supporting parts in several films and in a starring role in the TV series Owen Marshall. She continued to show up as a guest on various TV shows and even did some television writing. Darling began her career as a director in 1975 with the satirical TV soap spoof Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and subsequently directed episodes for M*A*S*H, Rich Man Poor Man, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Doc and Phyllis. Darling made her feature-film directorial debut in 1977 with the film First Love.