Daniels was born on Christmas Eve, 1959, the son of Clara Watson and William L. Daniels, in Philadelphia. He graduated from upscale, suburban Radnor High School in 1978, and then Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. He couldn't afford film school, so he started in a liberal arts college in Missouri but realized it wasn't for him, and started working as a receptionist in a nursing agency in California. Realizing he could do it on his own, he quit the job and started his own agency. At the age of 21, his company had 5000 nurses affiliated with it. He sold the company and went to work casting actors using his skills from 'casting' nurses. Later, he realized he had not paid taxes on his income, but over time, he did pay them off. He began his career in entertainment as a casting director and manager after a chance meeting with a Hollywood producer, working on such projects as Under the Cherry Moon and Purple Rain. He continued managing talent. The documentary My Big Break features Daniels early in his career when he was managing actor Wes Bentley who starred as Ricky Fitts in American Beauty. In the documentary, a Daniels comments on Bentley's reluctance to capitalize on his newfound celebrity status.
Lee Daniels is an American actor, film producer, and director. He produced Monster's Ball and directed the film Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, which received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Director; the film won two of the awards. In 2013, Daniels directed The Butler, a historical fiction drama. The Butler received positive reviews and became a box office success. Since 2009, Daniels has been in a relationship with Andy Sforzini.
@David Shankbone. Lee Daniels and children, 30 April 2007
Lee has a sister, Joyce Daniels Fennell, both of them children of former Philadelphia police officer William Daniels, who was, as Daniels says, "killed in the line of duty" when Lee was a teenager, in 1975. Daniels has also been very open about the fact that his father was violent and physically abusive towards him, and even tried "to beat it [being gay] out of me."
Another Daniels sibling is younger sister Leah, a casting director. Lee also has four younger brothers.
Monster's Ball, the debut production of Lee Daniels Entertainment, was a critical and box office success. Halle Berry took home the Oscar for Best Actress; the film was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
Daniels' 2004 production The Woodsman, starring Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick and Mos Def, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It went on to garner three nominations at the 2005 Independent Spirit Awards, the CICAE Arthouse Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Jury Prize at the Deauville International Film Festival and a "Special Mention for Excellence in Filmmaking" award from the National Board of Review.
Former president Bill Clinton persuaded Daniels to produce public service announcements to encourage young people of color to vote. The campaign was launched in March 2004 and featured Grammy winners actor/musician LL Cool J and Alicia Keys.
Daniels' first directorial effort, 2006's Shadowboxer, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. It starred Helen Mirren, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Ferlito, Mo'Nique, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Macy Gray. It was nominated for Best New Director at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
Daniels' 2008 production Tennessee was written by Russell Schaumberg and directed by Aaron Woodley (Rhinoceros Eyes), the film is about two brothers, played by Adam Rothenberg and Ethan Peck, who travel from New Mexico to Tennessee to search for their estranged father. Along the way they meet Krystal (Mariah Carey), an aspiring singer who flees her controlling husband (Lance Reddick) to join them on their journey.
His 2009 film Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire told the story of an obese, illiterate, 16-year-old girl (Gabourey Sidibe) who lives in a Section 8 tenement in Harlem. She has been impregnated twice by her father, Carl, and suffers long-term physical, sexual and emotional abuse from her unemployed mother, Mary (Mo'Nique). Carey also appeared, in the role of a social worker. The film screened at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and went on to garner widespread acclaim. Daniels was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, and the film received a Best Picture nod. It was also a financial success grossing $63 million worldwide against a budget of $10 million.
In 2010 Grace Hightower De Niro, who appeared in Precious, presented Daniels with the Pratt Institute's Creative Spirit Award.
Daniels' directed The Paperboy (2012), based on the 1995 novel by American author Pete Dexter who penned the original script which was further developed by Daniels, and starring Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, John Cusack, and Nicole Kidman. The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
He directed the historical fiction drama film The Butler (2013), starring Forest Whitaker, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Mariah Carey, Terrence Howard, Alan Rickman, and Oprah Winfrey. The Butler received positive reviews from critics and grossed over a 100 million dollars in the United States against a budget of $30 million.
It has been reported that Daniels will next direct the big screen adaptation of J. Eric's Novel A Place in Heaven starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Monique (of "Precious" fame).
The Butler: A Witness to History by Wil Haygood
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Atria / 37 Ink (July 30, 2013)
Amazon: The Butler: A Witness to History
Amazon Kindle: The Butler: A Witness to History
From Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow Wil Haygood comes a mesmerizing inquiry into the life of Eugene Allen, the butler who ignited a nation's imagination and inspired a major motion picture: Lee Daniels' The Butler, the highly anticipated film that stars six Oscar winners, including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey (honorary and nominee), Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Redgrave, and Robin Williams; as well as Oscar nominee Terrence Howard, Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, David Oyelowo, Alex Pettyfer, Alan Rickman, and Liev Schreiber.
With a foreword by the Academy Award nominated director Lee Daniels, The Butler not only explores Allen's life and service to eight American Presidents, from Truman to Reagan, but also includes an essay, in the vein of James Baldwin’s jewel The Devil Finds Work, that explores the history of black images on celluloid and in Hollywood, and fifty-seven pictures of Eugene Allen, his family, the presidents he served, and the remarkable cast of the movie.
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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