Jeff Daniels
Birth Date:
February 19, 1955
Birth Place:
Athens, Georgia, USA
actor, writer
Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan (majored in English)
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Johnny Got His Gun


Hollywood actor and stage performer Jeff Daniels was first noticed by the American theater community after marvelously presenting the one-man show “Johnny Got His Gun” (1982, took home an OBIE Award). His second dramatic work applauded was “Shoe Man,” where he was handed a Detroit News Critics’ Award.

In addition, Daniels won a Fantasporto’s International Fantasy Film Award for his portrayal of inn owner Ben Wilson in Grand Tour: Disaster in Time (1992, TV) as well as a U.S. Comedy Arts Festival’s Audience Award for his impressive performance as salesman Fred Barlow in the self-helmed and penned Super Sucker (2002). The recipient of the 2002 Video Software Dealers Association’s Independent Career Achievement Award, Daniels gave notable turns in Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Something Wild (1986), Dumb & Dumber (1994) and The Hours (2002).

Outside the spotlight, the 6’3” actor recently became an inductee to the first Michigan Walk of Fame. In March 2006, The Michigan Historical Museum and Lansing Principal Shopping District announced that his name would be put into the honor sidewalk among twelve other public figures, including President Gerald Ford, Henry Ford, E. Genevieve Gillette, W.K. Kellogg, Rosa Parks and the legend Stevie Wonder. Jeff Daniels is married to Kathleen Treado, with whom he has three children.

Hometown Love

Childhood and Family:

Jeffrey Daniels was born on February 19, 1955, in Athens, Georgia, but he later grew up in Southeastern Michigan, where his father ran a lumberyard. Initially, Jeff planned to be a teacher and took English programs at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. He dropped out in his junior year and moved to New York to build an acting career. Later, Jeff decided to move back to Michigan.

“I love not being in Hollywood or New York. Living in Michigan, you can sit for six months straight. People in Hollywood say, ‘God, you’re so brave to do that, I wish I could do that,’ and I say, ‘Yeah, you can’t go to people’s premieres.’” Jeff Daniels

On a more private note, Jeff is the husband of Kathleen Treado, whom he married in 1979. The couple has three children, one of which is son Benjamin, who was born in November 1984.

Dumb & Dumber


After meeting director Marshall W. Mason at the audition for the play “Summer and Smoke,” Jeff Daniels decided to leave college and head to New York. There, he worked as an apprentice in Mason’s theater group, Circle Repertory Company, and made a stage debut with the company in “The Farm” (1976). Impressed by Daniels’ performance, playwright Lanford Wilson created the role of Jed Jenkins, the homosexual lover of a paraplegic, in “Fifth of July.” Daniels then carried out the role on the off-Broadway stage in 1978 and on Broadway two years later.

In 1980, the young actor, who once appeared in a Pepto-Bismol TV ad, was seen in an episode of “Hawaii Five-O” and in the TV film A Rumor of War. He was then hired to act in the revival of Fifth of July (1982, TV) after he previously showed up in the drama movie Ragtime (1981).

Presenting a dramatic performance in the one-man show “Johnny Got His Gun” (1982), Daniels was handed an OBIE. Along with the stage achievement, the actor acquired his first prominent part in a feature film in the romantic comedy Terms of Endearment (1983). Before long, he earned critical praise and took home two Golden Globe nominations for playing the dual character of Tom Baxter/Gil Shepherd in Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) and the starring turn of businessman Charles Driggs in Something Wild (1986). He also took roles in Radio Days (1987), which was his second collaboration with eccentric director/screenwriter Woody Allen, the TV war drama The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (1988) and the comedy Checking Out (1989). Surprisingly, the performer was featured in Don Johnson’s album Let It Roll (1989), playing guitar.

Choosing to move back to his hometown, Chelsea (Michigan), Daniels founded a regional theater named the Purple Rose Theatre Company, with which he later made several plays, including “The Vast Difference,” “Thy Kingdom’s Come” and “Shoe Man.” His remarkable work in playwriting, particularly in the latter, eventually won him a Detroit News Critics in 1991.

On screen, Daniels costarred with Harley Jane Kozak and John Goodman in the sci-fi thriller Arachnophobia (1990), starred as Dr. Alex Tremor in the romantic comedy The Butcher’s Wife (1991) and took the leading turn of inn owner Ben Wilson in the sci-fi Grand Tour: Disaster in Time (1992, TV), which gave him a Fantasportro International Fantasy Film for Best Actor. Daniels, who in 1984 emerged on the Broadway with “The Golden Age,” re-teamed with Lanford Wilson in “Redwood Curtain” (1993).

Meanwhile, following the historical drama Gettysburg (1993, played Lt. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain), the versatile actor was nominated for MTV Movie’s Best On-Screen Duo for his hilarious portrayal of dim-witted Harry Dunne in Dumb & Dumber (1994). Detouring to the family movie, he acted opposite Glenn Close who played Cruella De Vil, in 101 Dalmatians (1996, as Roger). Up next for Daniels were the romantic comedy Trial and Error (1997), the star-studded Pleasantville (1998), the satirical drama All the Rage (1999) and the John Stockwell-helmed and written Cheaters (2000, TV).

Daniels took a crack at directing with the fantasy comedy about a curse following a hunter, Escanaba in da Moonlight (2001), where he also penned and starred as hunter Rueben Soady. It was followed with an award-winning turn as Fred Barlow, a competing vacuum cleaner salesman, in the second attempt at directing and screenwriting in Super Sucker (2002), which gained him a U.S. Comedy Arts Festival’s Audience award. The same year, he received an Independent Career Achievement award from the Video Software Dealers Association before taking the Screen Actors Guild nominated role of Louis Waters in The Hours (2002).

In Gods and Generals (2003), Daniels reprised his role of Lt. Col. Chamberlain. After appearing in the remake The Goodbye Girl (2004, TV), the actor joined actor George Clooney in his directorial work Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), where he played Sig Mickelson. Recently, Daniels took the supporting part of Travis Gornicke in the family road trip comedy RV (2006).

Daniels will appear as Alvin Dewey in the star-studded adaptation of George Plimpton’s book Infamous (2006), along with Sandra Bullock, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Jones, Daniel Craig and many other big names. He is also set to take roles in the forthcoming projects The Lookout (2006, as Lewis Canfield) and the comedy Mama’s Boy (2006).


  • U.S. Comedy Arts Festival: Audience Award, Super Sucker, 2002
  • Video Software Dealers Association: Independent Career Achievement Award, 2002
  • Fantasporto: International Fantasy Film Award - Best Actor, Grand Tour: Disaster In Time, 1992
  • Detroit News Critics: “Shoe Man,” 1991
  • OBIE: Performance, “Johnny Got His Gun,” 1983
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