Lee Daniels is an Academy Award® nominated filmmaker whose work is trademarked by authenticity and candor, providing audiences with a unique experience and raw character insight with each of his projects.
In 2001, Daniels founded Lee Daniels Entertainment, a full-service production company that is home to inclusive storytelling and serves as a platform for diverse and underrepresented voices to create authentic and original content. LDE made its feature film debut with MONSTER'S BALL, making Daniels the first African American producer of an Academy Award®-winning and nominated film. He is best known for his Academy Award®-winning film PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE, which was nominated for six Academy Awards®, including nominations for Daniels in the categories of "Achievement in Directing" and "Best Motion Picture of the Year. In 2013, he released the critically acclaimed box office smash LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER, which tells the story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), an African American butler who served at the White House during seven presidential administrations between 1957 and 1986.
Daniels wrapped production on his next film, THE DELIVERANCE, an exorcism thriller for Netflix, which he wrote, directed, and produced. The project stars Mo'Nique, Andra Day, Glenn Close, Aunjanue Ellis, Omar Epps, and Caleb McLaughlin. The film is inspired by the true story of a mother who believed her children became demonically possessed.
In February 2021, Daniels' latest feature, THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY, was released by Hulu. A drama based around the court case of famed singer Billie Holiday (Andra Day) after she was arrested at her apartment for the possession of narcotics, Daniels both directed and produced the film. Daniels' work with Andraon the film yielded her a Golden Globe Award® for "Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama" and a Best Actress Academy Award® nomination.
On the small screen, Daniels created the hit television series EMPIRE (FOX,) where he wrote and directed the pilot and continued to serve as an executive producer on the series until its season six finale in April 2020. The ground-breaking drama, starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, with Timbaland producing the show's original music, premiered in January 2015 and broke rating records during its first season.
In May 2021, Daniels signed a new multi-year overall deal with 20th Television, extending his previous deal with the studio that began in 2014. He continues to create, develop, write, direct, and supervise new projects under his Lee Daniels Entertainment banner. His recent projects include the critically acclaimed hit series THE WONDER YEARS, MS. PAT. Daniels is serving as co-writer and executive producer on the untitled biographical series for Hulu, starting production this Fall, which will explore the Sammy David Jr. through the lens of his racial identity and his complex relationship with the Black community. The eight-episode series is based on the book, "In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr." and will star Elijah Kelly in the leading role.
Following the success of the Grammy-Award® winning soundtrack of THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY, Daniels unveiled Lee Daniels Music, a global joint venture with Warner Recorded Music that encompasses recorded music projects, including soundtracks, as well as artist signings.
In late 2022, Daniels expanded into theater as the producer of the critically acclaimed Broadway comedy, AIN'T NO MO'. Written by, and starring, Jordan E. Cooper, the youngest American playwright in Broadway history, AIN'T NO MO' dared to ask the incendiary question, 'What if the U.S. government offered Black
Americans one-way plane tickets to Africa?' The answer came in the form of an outrageous and high-octane comedy about being Black in today's America. AIN'T NO MO' received six Tony nominations for Best Play, Best Direction, Featured Actor, Featured Actress, Costume Design, and Sound Design.
In addition to his successful film and television career, Daniels is also a passionate advocate and philanthropist. He sits on numerous boards including The Public Theater and Ghetto Film School, a non-profit which helps to educate, develop, and celebrate the next generation of great American storytellers. Daniels is also a longtime LGBTQIA activist, as well as a strong supporter of many charitable organizations.