An accomplished stage and screen actress, she began her career with the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford as Viola in "Twelfth Night". She starred in the award winning improvisational theater company The Premise, with Gene Hackman, Tom Aldredge, and Ron Liebman. Joan starred on Broadway in "Leda Had A Little Swan" and "A Minor Adjustment" and won an Emmy as an actress for her performance in "Dorothy Parker, Woven In Crazy Plaid". Joan was the first woman nominated for an Emmy for directing. Joan is considered the first woman director of the modern age and blazed the way for the women who followed in her footsteps. Her first directing assignment was in 1975, the world famous episode "Chuckles The Clown" of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, named by the New York Times as the funniest half hour ever on television and the number one episode of all time by TV Guide. She followed that success in 1976 with 19 episodes of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, which was featured on the cover of every major magazine from Newsweek to Rolling Stone within six weeks of its debut as being one of the most daring and inventive shows ever aired. She followed that by directing Her M.A.S.H. episode "The Nurses" in 1976 was nominated for an Emmy and is included in the "Best Of M.A.S.H." episode. Her first feature, "First Love" in 1977 was named one of the ten best by CBS. Joan Darling has been honored by the Museum Of Broadcasting as a "Woman Who Made It." She has been nominated four times and won an Emmy and a Directors Guild of America Award in 1985 for directing ABC's Afterschool Special: "Mom’s On Strike". In the 80th Anniversary issue of the Hollywood Reporter, the funeral scene from "Chuckles" was named as the eighth best moment in television history. She's married to Bill Svanoe (who actually wrote the teleplay of "The Pioneers") and resides on Fearrington Village, North Carolina. She also owns a summer home at Maine, New England, where she attends piano camp along with her husband. Since the late 90's her acting and directorial output has decreased considerably as she has devoted herself instead as a teaching Professor in Drama at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her master classes in Los Angeles (that have had up to a five year waiting list). She created the "Directing The Actor" workshop for the Sundance Institute and has served as a creative advisor at the Directors Lab at Sundance for the last 20 years. Her most recent credited role as an actress was in the short film "Mr. Moonlight" in 2008.