Petrie began her career in New York as an actress and talent agent before putting it on hold to raise four children. She ended her hiatus in 1979 by writing the story for, and producing, the CBS film “Orphan Train,” starring Jill Eikenberry. She went on to produce “Angel Dusted” starring Jean Stapleton for NBC, “License to Kill” with Denzel Washington for CBS and “Picking Up the Pieces” starring Margot Kidder for CBS.
In 1986, she won an Emmy for producing NBC’s Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation “Love is Never Silent,” which also won an Emmy for director Joseph Sargent and nominations for stars Mare Winningham and Phillis Frelich. Petrie next produced “Foxfire,” the eight-time Emmy nominated film for Hallmark and CBS. She won her second Emmy in 1990 for “Caroline?” starring Stephanie Zimbalist and George Grizzard.
Petrie then produced “The Perfect Tribute” starring Jason Robards as Abraham Lincoln for ABC. In 1992 she executive produced “Crash Landing: The Rescue of Flight 232” for ABC, followed by TV movies “Getting Out” with Rebecca De Mornay, “The Face on the Milk Carton” with Kellie Martin and “Secrets” with Veronica Hamel.
Petrie was an executive producer of the 1996 CBS film “Captive Heart: The James Mink Story,” starring Louis Gossett Jr. and Kate Nelligan, and served as producer of “The Echo of Thunder” starring Judy Davis. In 2001, she produced Willa Cather’s “The Song of the Lark” for PBS, with daughter June Petrie Battersby co-producing.
Petrie was a founding member of the Producers Guild of America. Vance Van Petten, the PGA Executive Director, said, “Dorothea Petrie was a beloved and respected producer who was awarded the PGA’s Charles FitzSimons Award due to her many years of service to the Guild and the producing community.”
Petrie was a member of Women in Film, where she helped spearhead the WIF Legacy Project, an archive of interviews with female trailblazers now housed at UCLA. She was also a supporter of the American Film Institute.
She was married to director Daniel Petrie, who predeceased her in 2004. They are survived by four children: screenwriter Daniel Petrie Jr., director Donald Petrie, writer Mary Petrie Lowen, and producer/teacher June Petrie Battersby, along with seven grandchildren: Emily and Charlie Petrie; Leila, Hannah and Fiona Battersby; and Sam and Annie-Claire Lowen.
A memorial service will be scheduled when it is safe to do so. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Daniel and Dorothea Petrie Scholarship at the American Film Institute.
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