Danny Strong is a popular actor, writer, and producer in the American entertainment industry. With roles in notorious TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gilmore Girls, as well as helping to write screenplays for critically acclaimed films like Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Strong has demonstrated his effortless flexibility throughout the entertainment industry. His latest project, a Hulu miniseries known as Dopesick, depicts the opioid crisis in America while showing the perspective not only of doctors but of the people who produce Oxycontin. With many opportunities still to come, Danny Strong’s career has the attention of many. Danny Strong is engaged to producer and actress Caitlin Mehner.
Daniel Strong, most commonly known as Danny Strong, was born on June 6, 1974. He grew up in southern California (Manhattan Beach, California) where he knew he wanted to be an actor from a young age. He comes from a Jewish family and mix of Lithuanian, Russian, and Polish. By the time he was 10, Strong was sending his photo to agents all over and becoming infatuated with the world of film. He went to Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, CA.
During this time, Strong spent a lot of his spare time at a video store near his house called Video Archives. He would talk to the clerk who worked there often, sharing opinions on his favorite movies, and getting recommendations from him. Ironically, the clerk that worked there was Quentin Tarantino. Strong told interviewers he used to talk about films with Tarantino after school for hours, just discussing different scenes and what they thought of them. As Danny Strong grew up, he quickly took an interest in theatre and drama in school. And by the time he got to college, he knew that he wanted to study film and theatre for his degree.
The Beginning of Danny Strong’s Career
Strong finally made his acting debut in the 90s television hit Saved by the Bell. Quickly afterward, in 1995, he appeared in his first full-length feature film, titled Dangerous Minds. Within the next few years, Strong scored role after role in popular films and television series. By 1998, Strong not only got his iconic role as Jonathan Levinson in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but he appeared in the popular sitcoms Boy Meets World, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Seinfeld, and the cult classic film Clueless.
After his acting career jumpstarted in the late 90s, Strong’s part in the entertainment industry only continued to grow. He landed his next notable character as Doyle McMaster in the series Gilmore Girls in 2003 and ended up staying on the show for the next 4 years. After his time on Gilmore Girls, he continued to be featured in popular series like Grey’s Anatomy and How I Met Your Mother into the early 2010s. This was when he decided to start slowing down his appearances in front of the camera to focus more on his writing.
Scripts, Screenplays, and Achievements
Strong had always been interested in writing his own script or screenplay. When he was just 25, he tried writing his first film, which was a dark comedy. The film was based on two men that kill an old man so they can move into his rent-controlled apartment. Unfortunately, the film never was put into action and it stayed on paper forever. Regardless, creating this helped Strong realize that he wanted to write much more in the future.
And that’s exactly what he did. Danny Strong’s first written piece to come to fruition was a film called Recount. Released in 2008, the film depicted the 2000 elections and the chaos that ensued when the recount was ordered in Florida. The political drama ended up being a great success and was ultimately nominated for 11 Emmys, one of which was for best writing, as well as 5 Golden Globes. Not long after, Strong found himself writing for another political drama entitled Game Change. This time, Strong wrote the screenplay that earned him an Emmy award for outstanding writing.
Gaining more experience in the world of writing and producing, Strong began to work on multiple different popular projects over the years. He found success in his screenplays that were written for the two-part ending films of the popular trilogy The Hunger Games. Both Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2 were films that brought their audiences to the edges of their seats.
But perhaps one of Strong’s most popular works is the screenplay he wrote for Lee Daniels’ The Butler. The film was based loosely on a real butler named Eugene Allen, who served the White House presidents for decades. In Strong’s screenplay, the trials, tribulations, and injustice that the butler endured demonstrate the hardships of the African American community during this time.
The film is a touching story of a hardworking, kind African American man who served white presidents for years, despite not always being treated well. In the end, he finally is able to see a Black man take presidential office. With stars like Oprah Winfrey and a strong screenplay, the film soared to great heights and reached larger audiences than Strong ever imagined.
Some of Strong’s most popular recent works include the hit television series Empire. Created with Lee Daniels, Strong’s previous partner on The Butler, the musical drama highlighted a family battling each other for control of their entertainment company. Empire quickly became popular and even was one of the most-watched shows on Fox at the time it aired. It went on for six drama-filled seasons, where Strong even stepped in as director before it came to an end in 2020.
Strong’s latest piece of work is the miniseries entitled Dopesick. Based on research by Beth Macy, as well as her book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company, Danny Strong wanted to create a series that focused on the devastation created by the opioid epidemic in America. Dopesick highlights the focal point of the opioid epidemic — the creators. Showing different perspectives like a small-town doctor versus the twisted mind of Oxycontin owner Richard Sackler, the audience gets a much better understanding of the corruption taking place underneath the surface of the epidemic. A recent interview with Danny Strong.
Though Danny Strong’s career is nowhere near over, it has already been full of accomplishments and successes that can last a lifetime.
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Awards: 2 Emmy Awards, 2 Writers Guild of America Awards, Producers Guild of American Award, NAACP Image Award, and nominated for a DGA Award as well as a Peabody.
Danny Strong Honored with Prestigious Pioneer Award
It can be difficult to make a name for yourself in Hollywood. It often involves a lot of hard work, dedication, and a bit of luck. Danny Strong is one individual who was able to take Hollywood by storm. Danny Strong is a well-known actor, screenwriter, and director. His work spans all different mediums and genres, offering the audience something new each time. He is an artist who isn’t afraid to take on a project no one else would.
His most recent success, “Dopesick,” was a gamble that paid off well for everyone involved. Danny Strong continues to inspire individuals who want to make it in Hollywood. He is a trailblazer both on and off-camera. Though he has been in the industry for some time, he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Danny Strong was born and raised in Manhattan Beach, California. He developed his love for acting and film early in his life. As a boy of 10, he was renting movies from a local video store. He would spend hours discussing movies with the clerk, who helped shape and develop his artist tastes. That clerk is known by many now as the famous director Quentin Tarantino. Strong attended high school at Mira Costa High School. His love for acting carried through high school and into his college career at the University of Southern California where he studied film and theatre.
Danny Strong was able to secure successful roles in TV shows now considered cult classics. He took on the role of Jonathan Levinson in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. The character appeared in five seasons of the show, playing an active role in 30 episodes. Strong also played Doyle McMaster in “Gilmore Girls.” Doyle is a recurring character in the later seasons of the show, appearing in 20 episodes. Strong also appeared in several different films such as “Pleasantville,” “Seabiscuit,” and “Dangerous Minds.” He also had a role in the hilarious spoof, “I Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th.” He has also held guest roles in popular sitcoms such as:
- “3rd Rock from the Sun”
- “Grey’s Anatomy”
- “Boy Meets World”
- “How I Met Your Mother”
He had a recurring role in “Mad Men” as Danny Siegal, too. He is currently starring in “Billions” as the character Todd Krakow. While acting has always been a large part of his career, he found himself drawn to behind-the-scenes work early in his career.
Danny Strong has experienced a rich, diverse acting career. He always wanted to branch into larger, more significant roles. This inspired him to write his own dark comedy in hopes of acting in the lead role. The project never fully materialized, but it did pave the way for a new, bright path in Strong’s future. This project awakened a passion in Strong to become a full-time screenwriter.
Screenwriting helped launch Danny Strong’s career to a whole new level. His first successful script was for the movie “Recount,” which depicts the events of the 2000 U.S. election. This movie reached number one on Hollywood Blacklist and would go on to become an award-winning HBO film. Written in 2007, it enjoyed well-received reviews from critics and fans. It won two awards and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. It would win the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Made for Television Movie and was awarded Best Original Screenplay for a Television Movie by the Writers Guild of America. This first instance of success helped solidify Strong’s place as someone quickly gaining momentum as a talented screenwriter.
Strong would go on to write the screen adaptation for the movie “Game Changer” in 2012. This film would go on to be awarded a Peabody, as well as winning Strong his second Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special.
His success continued to grow with his next screenplay for the film “The Butler.” This movie would make over $100 million at the U.S. box office. Following the success of these screen writes, he went on to co-write “Mockingjay,” which is the two-part final installment of the “Hunger Games” franchise. Strong also played a role in both writing and directing for the hit TV drama, “Empire.” The show has been nominated or won several different awards for best series. Even though Strong was seeing much success through his work as a screenwriter, he wanted to continue to grow. He next set his eyes on directing.
Strong started to move into directing while working on “Empire”. He directed several episodes of this highly popular show. His work on “Empire” would earn him the NAACP Image Award. Strong made his first full-directing debut with his movie “Rebel in the Rye” which is a biographical film about author J.D. Salinger. This film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Danny Strong recently received praise from fans and critics for his work on “Dopesick.” This Hulu miniseries is an examination of the opioid crisis that stars hit actor Michael Keaton. Strong worked as co-creator, executive producer, writer, and director for this dramatic TV series. Danny Strong is set to receive this year’s Pioneer Award at Sun Valley Film Festival. This award is to honor his work as an industry innovator. Strong was also honored to be nominated for this year’s Directors Guild Awards for his part in creating, co-writing, and directing the final two episodes of the show.
Photo: “Danny Strong” by Mirka23 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.