Dick's film debut was in The Searching Wind (1946). Producer Hal B. Wallis met Dick in a Broadway agent's office as Dick was waiting for an interview. Wallis had Dick make a screen test in New York City. The test, along with those of five other prospects, was shown to 300 women employees of Wallis' studio. Dick was the clear favorite when the women were polled, and his role in The Searching Wind was the result. His best known film role is Kenneth Lawrence in the Alfred Hitchcock film classic Rope (1948). Among his other notable films are The Red Badge of Courage (1951) and Something to Live For (1952).
On television, Douglas Dick is best known for his role as Carl Herrick in the television series, Waterfront (1954–1955).
Dick appeared once on Jim Davis' syndicated adventure series, Rescue 8. Additionally, he made two appearances on Lloyd Bridges' syndicated adventure series, Sea Hunt. He made seven guest appearances on Perry Mason throughout the duration of the CBS series from 1957 to 1966. In 1959, he played Fred Bushmiller in the title role in "The Case of the Watery Witness." In the 1962 episode, "The Case of the Glamorous Ghost," he played Walter Richey, a hotel clerk and the murderer. He played murderer Ned Chase in the 1963 episode, "The Case of the Elusive Element." He made his final appearance in 1965 as Ted Harberson in "The Case of the Wrathful Wraith."
Dick died December 19, 2015, at his home in Los Angeles, California. He was 95.