Born in Budapest, he worked as a writer and editor in Hungarian cinema until World War II. Louis B. Mayer helped the Jewish Benedek escape and brought him to Hollywood where he directed his first film for MGM in 1944 as a stand-in.
He gained wide recognition for his direction of 1951's Death of a Salesman, for which he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Director and a Best Director nomination from the Directors Guild of America. However, it was for his directorial efforts on his next project that Benedek is best remembered. His 1953 motorcycle gang film The Wild One caused a storm of controversy and was banned in the United Kingdom until 1968.
László Benedek spoke several languages and directed in Germany, making the 1955 film Kinder, Mütter und ein General and in France in 1960, directing Recours en grâce. In Hollywood, Benedek went on to make more motion pictures, but also became a significant director of television series, beginning with the Perry Mason series in 1957. He also directed episodes of other shows, including The Outer Limits, Mannix, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Untouchables, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
Benedek also directed "Malaga" aka " Moment of Danger" (1960) starring Dorothy Dandridge and Trevor Howard. This low budget crime drama was the last film made by Hollywood's first black leading actress.
- Song of Russia (1944)
- The Kissing Bandit (1948)
- Port of New York (1949)
- Death of a Salesman (1951)
- The Wild One (1953)
- Bengal Brigade (1954)
- Children, Mother, and the General (Germany, 1955)
- Recours en grâce (France, 1960)
- Malaga (1960)
- Namu, the Killer Whale (1966)
- Daring Game (1968)
- The Night Visitor (1971)
- Assault on Agathon (1975)