After earning a master's degree in political science, Szwarc, a lifelong cinema buff, decided to pursue a career in features in lieu of obtaining a doctorate from Harvard. Settling in Paris, he landed work at a production company that specialized in documentaries and commercials. Working his way up the ranks from production assistant to second unit director, Szwarc gained enough confidence to relocate to the US in the early 1960s. Supporting himself as a freelance screenwriter, he perfected his English. A temporary job at Universal led to a spec script that caught the attention of NBC. Put under contract by the network, Szwarc first served as an associate producer on "Chrysler Theatre" and "Ironside." During his stint on the latter, he made his TV directing debut. Throughout most of the late 60s and early 70s, Szwarc worked constantly, helming episodes of such shows as "Marcus Welby, M.D.," "The Virginian" and "Alias Smith and Jones." In 1971, he was hired as a resident director for Rod Serling's anthology "Night Gallery," where he directed nearly two thirds of the series' episodes.Szwarc moved to the big screen in 1973 with "Extreme Close-Up." Scripted by Michael Crichton, the film was a then-topical look at voyeurism. Unfortunately, it pales in comparison with contemporary films that shared its themes of invading privacy (Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" 1973) and pushing the sexual limits (Bernardo Bertolucci's "Last Tango in Paris" 1973). He followed with the laughable, yet profit-making "Bug" (1975), about marauding insects released after an earthquake which in turn led to his overseeing "Jaws 2" (1978), a well-crafted but unnecessary sequel to Steven Spielberg's blockbuster. Most of Szwarc's other big screen ventures have contained elements of fantasy and can be categorized as pretentious ("Supergirl" 1984), innocuous ("Santa Claus--The Movie" 1985) or forgettable ("Honor Bound" 1990).Of all of Szwarc's films, however, "Somewhere in Time" (1980), has become a cult favorite. Starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, it shared a time traveling theme not unlike Nicholas Meyer's "Time After Time" (1979) but the lead performances and the dream-like quality of the film (helped along in no small measure by John Barry's lilting score and its production and costume designs) have charmed audiences, despite critical brickbats.