Filmmaker Danny Leiner, director of 2000s classic Dude, Where's My Car? and the original Tick series, has passed away at the age of 57. Leiner's passing was confirmed by his producing partner Ross Putman in a Facebook post that said the director had finally succumbed to "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. He pushed us to do what he knew we were capable of," Putman also wrote. "Danny the person was sardonic, sharp, and savvy, with a love for culture and comedy of all kinds. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but the world has lost a good one."
Leiner began his career in the early '90s with the short Time Expired, which starred Edie Falco and John Leguizamo. Throughout the decade and into the early 2000s, he directed a number of television shows like the J.J. Abrams-produced Felicity with Keri Russell, Strangers With Candy with a young Stephen Colbert, and Judd Apatow's short-lived Freaks and Geeks.
Leiner really hit his stride in the first year of the new millennium with Dude, Where's My Car? Despite negative critical reception, Dude, Where's My Car? was a box-office success and has gained a cult following over the years, its title remaining particularly iconic.
The comedy starred Seann William Scott and Ashton Kutcher as two stoners looking for their vehicle after a particularly debaucherous night of partying. The film takes a strange turn into sci-fi territory when the two main characters, Jesse Montgomery III and Chester Greenburg, meet a group of aliens searching for a powerful device known as the "Continuum Transfunctioner." What starts as a run-of-the-mill stoner romp turns into an adventure to save the universe.
After Dude, Leiner returned to TV for several years, tackling properties like the original Tick with Patrick Warburton. In 2004, he struck gold with yet another cult stoner classic, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, a film that spawned two sequels.
Arrested Development, The Sopranos, The Office, and How to Make It in America also had episodes directed by Leiner.