Lee Daniels to make true story of 'welfare queen' criminal

Precious director developing drama based on a 2013 article about a Mr Ripley-esque woman called out by Ronald Reagan for cheating welfare system

Precious director and Empire creator Lee Daniels is set to make a biopic of a woman known as “the welfare queen”.

Based on a 2013 Slate article, The Queen will focus on the story of Linda Taylor, a woman who became infamous after Ronald Reagan described her as the Cadillac-driving “woman in Chicago” who got rich by cheating the welfare system.

“In Chicago, they found a woman who holds the record,” Reagan said at a campaign rally in January 1976. “She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, social security, veterans’ benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare. Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year.”

Many believed that she was a fictional figure, used by Reagan to demonise those on welfare but she existed and fraud wasn’t her worst crime with unsolved murders and kidnappings also attached to her name.

Described as a villain in the vein of Patricia Highsmith’s sociopathic Mr Ripley, her life will be the basis of a script to be produced by Daniels and Pamela Oas Williams, who previously worked together on The Butler.

According to The Tracking Board, it’s not confirmed yet as to whether Daniels will direct. After working on the second series of the hit show Empire, he will make the Richard Pryor biopic Is It Something I Said?, with Mike Epps in the starring role.


Benjamin Lee

The GuardianTramp

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