Danny Leiner, the director of stoner-comedy classics Dude, Where’s My Car and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, has died, aged 57.
Producer Ross Putman, who worked with Leiner throughout his career, confirmed the death, describing its cause as "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 wrote on Facebook.
“He pushed us to do what he knew we were capable of. 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.”
John Cho and Kal Penn, who starred as the titular stars of Harold & Kumar, both paid tribute to the director.
"Danny was so sharp, so funny, and a great dinner companion," Cho wrote on Twitter. "To his friends and family, my deepest condolences."
Penn wrote: "Very sad to learn that our friend Danny Leiner passed away. Sending my love to his family & friends. He was such a funny, thoughtful, encouraging person."
Very sad to learn that our friend Danny Leiner passed away. We initially got to know each other when he directed Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. Sending my love to his family & friends. He was such a funny, thoughtful, encouraging person.— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) 20 October 2018
I am so saddened to hear about the passing of Danny Leiner, who became my friend when he directed Harold and Kumar go to Whitecastle. Danny was so sharp, so funny, and a great dinner companion. To his friends and family, my deepest condolences.— John Cho (@JohnTheCho) 20 October 2018
Leiner made his directorial debut in 1996 with the comedy Lyin' Low, starring Jeremy Piven and Edie Falco. Four years later, his second feature, Dude, Where’s My Car?, became a box-office smash, grossing $73.2 million
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle was then released in 2004, spawning two sequels that Leiner did not direct. Between films, he also worked on various TV shows, including Freaks and Geeks, The Sopranos and The Office.