Academy Award-Nominated Director: Known for "Empire," "The Butler," and "Precious"
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 founded and ran 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,…
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 founded and ran 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.
Most recently Daniels produced and directed The Butler, a story following the life of a White House butler who served under eight different U.S. Presidents over three decades. The film was well received by critics and earned numerous Critics Choice, Screen Actors Guild and NAACP Image Award nominations.
Daniels’ previous project, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, is the story of an overweight, illiterate girl raised in Harlem, sexually abused by her father and about to give birth to her second child, who salvages her future at an alternative school. Precious won two Academy Awards in 2010: Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress. The film received a total of six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Editing, with Daniels nominated as Best Director; making him the second African-American director to be nominated for an Oscar. Daniels also received a historic nomination as the first African-American director to be nominated by the Directors Guild of America.
Following up the success of Precious, Daniels next directed The Paperboy starring Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey, and Zac Efron. Also based on a best-selling novel of the same name, The Paperboy revolves around a reporter and his brother who investigate the events surrounding a murder to exonerate the accused man on death row.
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.
Daniels’ other film credits include Shadowboxer and Tennessee.
Daniels most recently made the jump to television, producing the drama Empire alongside Brian Grazer and Danny Strong. The show, which stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, debuted in January 2015 on Fox.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
A Conversation With Lee Daniels
Breaking Ground as an African American in Hollywood
Lee Daniels speaks at 2013 SCAD Fall Commencement Ceremony
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