As a writer, director, and actor, Ernest Thompson has had a varied career despite his relative obscurity. Born in Vermont, he started out as a playwright, stage actor, and theatrical director. In the '70s, he made the switch to television with the soap opera Somerset, the Yosemite park ranger show Sierra, and the medical drama West Side Medical. However, his major accomplishment was as a writer, adapting his original play On Golden Pond for the screen. Starring Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda, the family drama was a huge hit in 1981, winning Thompson Best Screenplay awards from the Academy, Golden Globes, and Writers Guild of America. Later in the '80s, he wrote the drama Sweet Hearts Dance, directed by Robert Greenwald and starring Susan Sarandon and Don Johnson. He made his directorial debut in 1989 with 1969, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Winona Ryder. During the '90s, he stuck with writing and directing made-for-TV movies with Take Me Home Again, The West Side Waltz, and Out of Time. In 2001, he directed his own TV version of On Golden Pond, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.