American filmmaker Danny Leiner, whose credits include the hit stoner comedies Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004) and Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), has died aged 57.
Leiner’s death was reported in the media on Saturday after producer Ross Putman confirmed the news on Facebook. Putman said Leiner had “passed away after a long illness”.
“If there’s one thing I can say about Danny the professional, it’s that he refused to let us settle for anything less than our best,” Putman said in his post. “He pushed us to do what he knew we were capable of.”
John Cho (Searching) and Indian-American actor Kal Penn (The Namesake), who starred in the Harold & Kumar movies, also shared tributes to Leiner on Twitter. The success of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle led to two sequels, but Leiner was not attached to the subsequent projects.
Leiner made his feature filmmaking debut with the thriller Layin Low (1996), starring Jeremy Piven. His second film was the cult hit Dude, Where’s My Car starring Ashton Kutcher, Sean William Scott and Jennifer Garner. Leiner had also directed episodes of several television shows including Freaks and Geeks, Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development, The Sopranos, and The Office.