Lee Daniels Says Empire Was Inspired by the Kennedys

Lee Daniels Empire

Lee Daniels Says Empire Was Inspired by the Kennedys

Filmmaker shoots down rumors that Diddy or Jay Z influenced show.

Published February 7, 2015

Lee Daniels' show Empire is one of the biggest network hits of the season, so naturally there has been tons of speculation on whom lead character Lucious Lyon, played by Terrence Howard, is based. While Diddy, Jay Z and Suge Knight are obvious guesses, Daniels says the influence actually came from more unexpected sources.


"It's a little bit of my life, a lot of Motown," Daniels tells TMZ. "It's a lot of Gamble and Huff, a lot of my imagination." The filmmaker then shared the major influence on the music titan who ruthlessly runs his family-owned label: the Kennedy dynasty. In particular, political patriarch Joe Kennedy. "It's the American dream," Daniels explained. 

Empire also stars Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon, Lucious' no-nonsense wife who was recently released from prison. We can only imagine who the influences were for her character!

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Written by Evelyn Diaz


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