Daniel Taradash was born in Kentucky and raised in Chicago and Miami Beach. While an undergraduate at Harvard, he met his future producing partner Jules Blaustein. After completing his studies at Harvard, including obtaining a law degree and passing the New York State bar, he seemed set on a legal career. But when his play "The Mercy" won the 1938 Bureau of New Plays contest (the two previous winners were Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams), it seemed likely Taradash would find success on stage. While his play received a staging at NYU, it was enough of a calling card to land him work in Hollywood, where he proved a smart, capable scripter, often of adaptations. His first assignment was as one of four credited writers on the screen version of Clifford Odets' "Golden Boy" (1939).