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Lee Daniels Biography

Birth Name:
Leonardo Louis Daniels
Birth Place:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Profession
Producer, director

Fast Facts

  • 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)

Awards

  • 2010Independent Spirit Awards-Best Director: winner
  • 2010Independent Spirit Awards-Best Director: winner
  • 2010Independent Spirit Awards-Best Feature: winner
  • 2010Independent Spirit Awards-Best Feature: winner
  • 2010Producers Guild Awards-Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures: nominated
  • 2010Producers Guild Awards-Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures: nominated
  • 2010Critics' Choice Movie Awards-Best Director: nominated
  • 2010BAFTA Film Awards-Best Film: nominated
  • 2010BAFTA Film Awards-Best Film: nominated
  • 2010Critics' Choice Movie Awards-Best Director: nominated
  • 2009Oscar-Best Achievement in Directing: nominated
  • 2009Directors Guild of America Awards-Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film: nominated
  • 2009Directors Guild of America Awards-Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film: nominated
  • 2009Sundance Film Festival-Audience Award: Dramatic: winner
  • 2009Sundance Film Festival-Audience Award: Dramatic: winner
  • 2009Sundance Film Festival-Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic: winner
  • 2009Sundance Film Festival-Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic: winner
  • 2009Toronto International Film Festival-People's Choice Award: winner
  • 2009Toronto International Film Festival-People's Choice Award: winner
  • 2009Oscar-Best Motion Picture of the Year: nominated
  • 2009Oscar-Best Motion Picture of the Year: nominated
  • 2009Oscar-Best Achievement in Directing: nominated
  • 2005Independent Spirit Awards-Best First Feature: nominated

Relationships