Gottlieb came to film following a successful career as first a fashion photographer and a Cleo Award-winning commercial director. Mannequin, in which Kim Cattrall starred opposite Andrew McCarthy as a department store model brought to life by the spirit of an Egyptian princess, was his first feature film and a surprising hit. Gottlieb claimed that he got the idea for the film when observing the window displays at the Bergdorf Goodman department store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. His follow ups were not as successful. His sophomore effort, the 1990 Cheech Marin comedy The Shrimp On The Barbie, was released under the directorial pseudonym Alan Smithee. His next two projects, Mr. Nanny (1993) and A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), fared little better.
Transitioning from film to video games, Gottlieb would produce a number of popular games including several in the Mortal Combat franchise, Midway Arcade Treasures 3, Fire Blade, Muppet Monster Adventure, Paperboy and NBA Hang Time.
Most recently, Gottlieb taught screenwriting to both undergrads and graduate students as a professor of film at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.