Lee Daniels Biography

Lee Daniels photo

Born: December 24, 1959


Date of Birth: December 24, 1959

By the age of 21, Lee Daniels had founded and was running his own health care agency, providing nurses to private homes and hospitals; he was simultaneously trying to be a screenwriter. After selling his health care business, and giving up screenwriting, he began managing actors such as Loretta Divine, Michael Shannon, Nastassja Kinski and Aishwarya Rai. Daniels turned to producing as a natural result of trying to find and create great material for his clients; the organic leap to directing came soon after.

Monster's Ball was the first film from Daniels' production company, Lee Daniels Entertainment. The film marked Daniels as the first sole African-American producer of an Oscar-winning and -nominated film. Daniels also produced The Woodsman, which premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, the film received the CICAE Arthouse Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Jury Prize at the Deauville International Film Festival, and Special Mention for Excellence in Filmmaking from the National Board of Review.

Released in 2006, Shadowboxer, a bold, heart-wrenching tale of two assassins, was Daniels' directorial debut. Following the film's world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Daniels was also nominated for the New Directors Award at the 2006 San Sebastian Film Festival.

To date, Daniels has garnered the most acclaim for his movie Precious, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, which won Audience Awards from film festivals around the world and garnered him an Academy Award nomination. His most recent film is Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013) which stars Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and John Cusack.

Daniels is the adoptive father of his niece and nephew, twins named Clara and Liam, whom he has been raising since they were three days old. He lives with them in New York City.

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