- His father was a policeman who was gunned down in a bar while off duty in 1975.
- Moved to Hollywood after quitting college and worked as a receptionist for a nursing agency before successfully starting up a health-care agency of his own by the age of 22.
- Acting on the advice of a producer working for singer Prince, began a career as a music-video casting director.
- With his former partner Billy Hopkins, adopted the baby twins of his jail-bound brother when they were 3 days old.
- Formed production company Lee Daniels Entertainment in 1984; its first feature effort, Monster's Ball (2001), earned two Academy Award nominations, including a Best Actress win for Halle Berry.
- In 2004, produced public service announcements encouraging young people of color to vote.
- Directorial debut came with the crime thriller Shadowboxer (2005), a violent and sexually explicit film about professional assassins who are also lovers.
- The first African-American to receive a nod from the Director's Guild of America and only the second nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Director category for Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire (2009).
- 2009, Oscar — Best Motion Picture of the Year: Nominee
- 2009, Toronto International Film Festival — People's Choice Award: Winner
- 2009, Sundance Film Festival — Audience Award: Dramatic: Winner
- 2009, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Film: Nominee
- 2009, Oscar — Best Achievement in Directing: Nominee
- 2009, Sundance Film Festival — Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic: Winner
- Andy Sforzini — Significant Other
- Billy Hopkins — Ex-significant Other
- Clara Daniels — Mother
- Leah Daniels-Butler — Sister
- William Daniels — Father
- Clara Daniels — Daughter
- Liam Daniels — Son
- Attended Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO
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