Independent Media Director, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle Helmer Danny Leiner Passes Away

On October 18, the film, television and advertising communities lost one of their most beloved directing talents as Danny Leiner sadly passed away after a battle with cancer.

Known and admired for his sharp wit and comedic vision, his tireless work ethic, valuable mentorship, consummate professionalism and collaborative nature, Leiner’s filmography canvassed some of the most endearing and enduring films and TV shows of a generation. From helming the boisterous comedies Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Dude, Where’s My Car?, to indie ensemble comedy-drama The Great New Wonderful, to memorable episodes of classic series such as Arrested Development, The Sopranos, The Office, Felicity, Freaks and Geeks, Sports Night, Party of Five and Gilmore Girls, Leiner deftly conveyed his sense of humor, heart and creative voice, regardless of medium.

Along with his revered work in film and TV, which has earned Golden Globe, Emmy, SAG, DGA and WGA awards, Leiner also made his mark in the advertising world, directing campaigns for the likes of Sprint, Ad Council, GameStop, Jack Link’s, Golfsmith and In a statement, Leiner’s longtime collaborator, friend and Independent Media Founder Susanne Preissler says, “Danny had spark. He was an imaginative wit. Principled, always the first to roll up his sleeves and jump right on in, searching endlessly for the comedy, the punchline, the laugh. Everything was an adventure and a privilege. But most of all, Danny had real heart. He loved life and the people around him dearly. I will miss him.”

Leiner is survived by his former spouse, Margaret Mendelson, mother Anne Leiner, sister Karen Leiner, and brother Ken Leiner.

A memorial in Los Angeles is being planned.

Photo by Carolyn Contino/BEI/REX/Shutterstock (520671x)
Danny Leiner
April 22, 2005 New York, NY
Danny Leiner
World premiere of THE GREAT NEW WONDERFUL at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, Stuyvesant High School Auditorium, New York City.
Photo®Carolyn Contino/BEImages


About Independent Media

For more than fifteen years, Independent Media has brought together the very best of advertising and entertainment and produced award-winning campaigns of unusual impact, sophistication and style.

They manage the careers of exceptional directors, who are the winners of Academy Awards, BAFTA’s, Golden Globes and Emmys and have earned more than $6 billion at the box office. More importantly, they are passionate storytellers who understand the importance of nurturing great ideas while bringing a wealth of experience, ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and talent to bear. Together with their advertising partners, Independent Media directors have helmed initiatives around the world and across the media spectrum. The productions – ranging from brand integrated content to feature-length films – have competed at Sundance and Toronto International Film Festival and enjoyed numerous awards at Cannes, AICP, D&AD and the Primetime Emmy Awards, among others.