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Jeffrey Warren "Jeff" Daniels (born February 19, 1955) is an American actor, musician and playwright. He founded a non-profit theatre company, the Purple Rose Theatre Company, in his home state of Michigan. He has performed in a number of stage productions, both on and off-Broadway. He has been nominated for the Tony Award as Best Actor for the Broadway play God of Carnage (2009), along with his other three cast-mates. He has had a thriving film career, from his debut in 1981 in Ragtime, through State of Play (film) in 2009. For his film work, he has received three Golden Globe Award nominations, including as Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical for Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) (hence the name of his theatre company). He has also received nominations by the Screen Actors Guild, Satellite Awards, and several for his work in The Squid and the Whale (London Critics Circle Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, Chlotrudis Awards and Gotham Awards).

Early lifeEdit

Daniels was born in Athens, Georgia and grew up in Chelsea, Michigan, where his father, Robert Lee Daniels, still owns the local lumber yard. He was raised Methodist.[1] Daniels attended Central Michigan University and participated in their theater program. In the Summer of 1976 he attended the Eastern Michigan University (EMU) drama school to participate in a special Bi-Centenniel Repertory programme where he performed in Hot L Baltimore and three other plays performed in repertoire. Marshall Mason was the guest director at EMU and he invited Jeff to come to New York to work at the Circle Repertory Theatre where he performed in The Fifth of July by Lanford Wilson in the 1977-1978 season. He also performed in New York in The Shortchanged Review (1979) at Second Stage Theatre.[2] It was the first show of the inaugural season for Second Stage Theatre.

Stage careerEdit

Daniels has starred in a number of New York productions, on and off Broadway. On Broadway, he has appeared in Lanford Wilson's Redwood Curtain, A. R. Gurney's The Golden Age and Wilson's Fifth of July, for which he won a Drama Desk Award for Best Supporting Actor. Off-Broadway, he received a Drama Desk nomination for Wilson's Lemon Sky, and an Obie Award for his performance in the Circle Repertory Company production of Johnny Got His Gun. He returned to the stage in 2009, appearing in Broadway's God of Carnage with Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis and James Gandolfini.[3]

In 1991, he founded the regionally-acclaimed[4] Purple Rose Theatre Company, a non-profit stage company in his birthplace and current home of Chelsea, Michigan. He is currently Executive Director of PRTC, and has written 11 plays for them.

Film careerEdit

Although primarily a dramatic actor, Daniels has also been cast in other genres such as the 2002 suspense thriller Blood Work and in the 1994 comedy Dumb and Dumber as Harry Dunne, Lloyd Christmas' best friend. Daniels portrayed Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in Gettysburg, as well as the prequel Gods and Generals.

Most notably, Daniels is also known for his roles in movies such as Speed, Terms of Endearment, My Favorite Martian (film), Gettysburg, Arachnophobia, Because of Winn-Dixie, and The Squid and the Whale. More recently, he appeared in the movie RV with Robin Williams, as well as State of Play (film). He continues to act and will appear in more upcoming movies.

Musical careerEdit

He has focused on recording a number of songs that he has written throughout his life, apparently marking key moments. He has kept busy with frequent gigs and two full length albums, Grandfather's Hat and Jeff Daniels Live and Unplugged.Template:Fact

Personal lifeEdit

Daniels has been married to his high school sweetheart, Kathleen Rosemary Treado, since 1979. (They married on Friday the 13th because he wore the number 13 on his baseball uniform.)

Around 1983,[5] Daniels found his gathering sense of mastering the acting craft consolidated when Woody Allen complimented his performance in The Purple Rose of Cairo -- he believed he could meet any director's expectations, since he had met Allen's—to the point of announcing to his wife that his career success was ensured.

Their first child was born in 1984, and in 1986, Daniels moved his home to Chelsea, Michigan, where the couple had grown up.

They have three children: Benjamin (born 1984), Lucas (born 1987), and Nellie (born 1990).

Daniels is a baseball fan who follows the Detroit Tigers and is also an avid Detroit Red Wings fan;Template:Fact he is not averse to the Detroit Pistons but he's not so keen on the Detroit Lions.Template:Vague

He has appeared as the TV spokesperson for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation promoting Michigan's effectiveness in bringing in new companies,Template:Vague featured on CNBC.

He has written, directed, and starred in two films by Purple Rose Films, each set in Michigan: Escanaba in da Moonlight and Super Sucker.

He was inducted into the Michigan Walk of Fame on May 25, 2006 in Lansing, Michigan.



  1. Preview Interview with Cast of Because of Winn-Dixie
  2. Downstage Center interview broadcast April 20, 2007
  3. Gandolfini Stars on Broadway in God of Carnage The Associated Press, January 12, 2009
  4. Live Professional Stage Theatre in Chelsea, Michigan at The Purple Rose Theatre
  5. "Worth the Wait", Fran Schumer, New York Times, June 2, 1996 says "... Woody Allen filmed The Purple Rose of Cairo [in Piermont, NY] in 1983...." -- although Mia Farrow and Her Director on Their Film Collaboration, New York Times, January 22, 1984, says "... The Purple Rose of Cairo ... is still in production...."

External linksEdit

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