Born in Madisonville, Ky., Darryl grew up in a family of talented people, his mother a gospel singer, brother an actor and singer, and his father being a preacher. After attending college at Western Kentucky University for Graphic Communications, he started in theatre with his one-man shows. In these shows he brings historical African-American figures such as Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, Lionel Richie, and the legendary Ray Charles to life. Captivating his audience with these performances Darryl is one of the most versatile performers in America. He has performed his one-man shows at over 300 universities
Throughout his career Darryl has been nominated for many performance and inspirational awards. He was nominated for the NAACP Theatre award, recognized by the National Association of Campus Activities as “Best performance,” and Recognized as “Performer of the Year” by Campus Activities Today.
Recently Darryl played a leading role in the inspirational film Deadline, the independent project from Transcendent (under the umbrella of Nashville’s Film House), which premiered Feb. 15, at Green Hills Regal Theater and will be available for viewers nationwide this coming April. Darryl portrays a reverend that brings the light of hope from the beginning to the end of the movie.
Bringing Great American leaders to life in the classroom and on stage is how Darryl would describe his Power to Choose program, which is an outreach program for at-risk youth. He works to bring attention to the importance of vocational training. He is there to be a role model by portraying historical African-American figures through theatre, motivating the youth to have realistic goals and to understand that education is for everyone.
Darryl says “Whether its theatre, film or TV, motivation is what I do.” His life mission is to inspire others. It’s clear that Darryl Van Leer has a passion for acting as well as inspiring others, and because of self-motivation, and the passion for his practice he has a successful career still to come.
Article by: Summer Rison