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Leah Daniels Butler

Leah Daniels-Butler is a casting director and producer responsible for launching the careers of talentedactors like Gaborey Sidebe, star of the Academy Award winning film "Precious", and other notables. Shecurrently serves as Casting Director for television's #1 show, "Empire" on Fox

Leah began her career as a casting assistant in 1991 working for legendary casting director and mentorJaki Brown and Kimberly Hardin. Under their leadership, she assisted in casting actor/recording starTyrese Gibson in the Coca-Cola ad that launched his career, which now includes two-blockbuster moviefranchises, ”Transformers" & "Fast & Furious.”

Climbing the casting ladder, Leah also assisted on films like "CB4" starring Chris Rock, "The Inkwell"with Larenz Tate and the cult classic "Friday" starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. Leah’s work ethic and reputation for "getting the job done" quickly spread among black filmmakers and the mainstreamtelevision space alike.

In 1994, Leah landed a coveted casting position as the assistant to Leslie Litt, Senior VP of Casting atWarner Brothers. Within two years Leah earned a promotion to casting executive and began working onaward-winning projects like "Friends" starring Jennifer Anniston and "Suddenly Susan" starring BrookeShields. Both shows earned Primetime Emmy Awards for acting roles. During her tenure at WarnerBrothers, Leah also cast "The Wayans Brothers" and "For Your Love,” which received six NAACP ImageAwards nominations.

In 2001, Leah left WBTV to start LDB Casting, the company she owns and operates today. As anindependent casting director, Leah works across genres securing talent for films like "2 Fast 2 Furious,”"Shadow Boxer,” “ATL,” and "The Paperboy,” which showcased an all-star cast that included: MatthewMcConaughey, Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, John Cusack, Macy Grey and David Oyelowo. In 2013, Leahcast the award-winning film “The Butler” with another all-star line-up that included: Oprah Winfrey, Forrest Whitaker, Liev Shreiber, Robin Williams, James Marsden, John Cusack, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard and rising star YaYa DaCosta.

Among her many accolades, Leah is the recipient of the Hamilton Award for Outstanding Casting for herwork on “The Butler,” and the Casting Society of America’s “Outstanding Achievement in Casting for aTelevision Drama” award for her work on “Empire.” The Casting Society of America recently appointedher to its board of directors, where she serves as the only African-American member of the board.

When she’s not busy helping to shape the many fictional characters international audiences have come toknow and love, Leah dedicates her time to helping shape the futures of real women in her communitywho are in need of second chances. She sits on the board of the A New Way to Life ReEntry Project, anorganization that provides housing and support to formerly incarcerated women in South Central LosAngeles.
The younger sister of Academy-Award-nominated director Lee Daniels, Leah is hard at work expandingthe family’s real-life empire. Alongside her beloved husband and adult children, Leah’s hard at work onseveral new ventures including the launch of a new tequila brand, Amo Del Cielo, and the formation of atelevision and film production company, “1oneninety5,” a nod to the year she was married.

Married to music executive and producer Henry Butler Jr. for 22 years, Leah is the proud mother of fivewonderful children and currently resides in the Southern California area.

My Speakers Sessions

Saturday, September 23

3:30pm EDT

5:30pm EDT