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 recognition for his direction of the film version of Death of a Salesman (1951), 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 motorcycle gang film The Wild One (1953) caused a storm of controversy and was banned in the United Kingdom until 1968.
László Benedek spoke several languages and directed the films Kinder, Mütter und ein General (Germany, 1955) and Recours en grâce (France, 1960). In Hollywood, Benedek made more motion pictures, but also became a director of television series, such as the Perry Mason series from 1957. His other credits include episodes of The Outer Limits, Mannix, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Untouchables, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
- 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)
- Affair in Havana (1957)
- Recours en grâce (France, 1960)
- Malaga (1960)
- Namu, the Killer Whale (1966)
- Daring Game (1968)
- The Night Visitor (1971)
- Assault on Agathon (1975)