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Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels' background is filled with bold stories as real and gritty as the narratives from the films he creates. By the age of 21, 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, Natasha Kinsky, 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.

Daniels recently produced the upcoming film TENNESSEE, which premiered at last year's Tribeca Film Festival. The film is produced by Daniels, written by Russell Schaumberg, and directed by Aaron Woodley (RHINOCEROS EYES). Daniels is also teaming with Chilean film-maker Sebastian Silva to produce Silva's next film SECOND CHILD. The film follows an eight-year-old boy as he seeks affection and acceptance during the course of a family vacation to a country home.

Daniels and his family live in New York City.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2009.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Lee Daniels Facts

OccupationProducer, Director

Selected Filmography

Lee Daniels' The Butler
Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer
Lazarus Papers
Bucks County Massacre
Here There Be Dragons
Chad Daniels: As Is
Leviathan Wakes
Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to off the Wall
Continue » Find more details on the Lee Daniels Movies page