A former journalist and publicist, Worcester Academy alumnus Willis Goldbeck launched his film career in 1923. Goldbeck wrote screenplays for such major silent-screen directors as Rex Ingram, Herbert Brenon and Tod Browning. In the mid-1930s, he signed on at MGM's "B"-picture unit, scripting most of the studio's Dr. Kildare films. His first directorial credit was Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant (1942), the first "Kildare" film without Kildare (Lew Ayres). His first and last venture into independent production was Johnny Holiday, which he also wrote and directed. He went on to helm Columbia's Ten Tall Men (1951), then concentrated exclusively on writing and producing. Willis Goldbeck's last projects in these capacities were John Ford's Sgt. Rutledge (1960) and Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).