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BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE

JEFF DANIELS portrays Preacher, Opal's father and dedicated shepherd of the small flock at Naomi, Florida's Open Arms Baptist Church.

An actor of enormous range, Daniels launched his film career as the self-involved semi-intellectual who cheated on his ill wife in James L. Brooks' Oscar®-winning "Terms Of Endearment.” Two years later he solidified his reputation, playing the smug actor who steps off the screen to woo Mia Farrow in Woody Allen's "The Purple Rose Of Cairo.” In 1986 he scored with the critics as a man caught up in the dangerous world of a free-spirited woman in Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild.” His other films during the eighties include "Marie” with Sissy Spacek, Mike Nichols' "Heartburn,” Woody Allen's "Radio Days,” "Checking Out,” "The House On Carroll Street” and "Sweethearts Dance.”

His subsequent film roles included "The Butcher's Wife,” "Arachnophobia,” "Welcome Home, Roxy Charmichael,” "Love Hurts,” "Gettysburg,” "Speed,” "101 Dalmatians,” "Fly Away Home” and, of course, "Dumb & Dumber.” Among his other credits are "2 Days in The Valley,” "Trial And Error,” "Pleasantville,” "”It's The Rage,” "My Favorite Martian,” "The Hours,” "Gods and Generals” and Clint Eastwood's "Blood Work.” As an actor/writer/director, Daniels' credits include "Escanaba in Da Moonlight” and "Super Sucker,” winner of the Audience Award for Best Comedy and the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

Raised in Michigan, where he currently resides, Daniels attended college planning a teaching career while minoring in theatre. A role in a college production of "Summer And Smoke,” guest directed by Marshall W. Mason of New York's Circle Repertory Company, led to a career change and a move to New York. As a member of Circle Rep, Daniels made his mark in the role of Jed in Lanford Wilson's "Fifth Of July.” He performed the play in productions Off-Broadway at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum, as well as on Broadway. In 1982 he was honored with an Obie® Award for his stunning one-man performance in "Johnny Got His Gun.” Other Broadway credits include A. R.Gurney's "The Golden Age” with Irene Worth and Stockard Channing, and Lanford Wilson's "Redwood Curtain,” a role he reprised in a Hallmark Hall Of Fame television adaptation. Other television work includes A&E's "The Crossing, "Cheaters” on HBO, two guest hosting stints on "Saturday Night Live” and, most recently, TNT's new version of Neil Simon's "The Goodbye Girl.”

In 1991, Daniels founded the Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea, Michigan. A nationally recognized regional theatre company known for the development of new American plays, Daniels himself has written eight plays for the company, "Shoe Man,” "The Tropical Pickle,” "The Vast Difference,” "Thy Kingdom's Coming,” "Escanaba in Da Moonlight,” "Apartment 3A,” "Boom Town” and "Across The Way,” the latter nominated as a 2002 Best Play Finalist by the American Theatre Critics Association.

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