Actors John Cho and Kal Penn, the stars of the Harold & Kumar films, praised Leiner via Twitter as a "funny, thoughtful, encouraging person."
His ethnically groundbreaking Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle would spawn two sequels.
It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but the world has lost a good one.” “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.
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) October 20, 2018
His death at age 57 was confirmed via a Facebook post by Ross Putman, who produced several films with Leiner. Danny Leiner, the director behind comedies Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle and Dude, Where's My Car?, has died after what's described as a long illness.
Leiner graduated SUNY Purchase in 1987. His first feature film was Layin’ Low, starring Jeremy Piven and Edie Falco, and he followed that with Dude, Where’s My Car?, which bowed in 2000.
Leiner also was active in televison, directing episodes of Felicity, Freaks and Geeks, Party of Five, Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development, The Sopranos, and The Office.
Leiner’s last credited work is an episode he directed of ABC’s Selfie, which reunited him with Cho.