Casting director Dan Velez died October 31, his Dream Big Casting/Space Station Casting Studios partner Sherri Henderson confirmed to Deadline. He was 30. No cause of death was disclosed. According to sources, he died in a accident on Halloween night involving a fall at his apartment building. Velez co-founded and served as president of Space Station Casting Studios, which also housed his casting company. He built it from a single room into a 17,000-square-foot facility — the largest casting space in Los Angeles.
The Casting Society of America member was a casting associate on features including the James Bond film Quantum Of Solace and Fox’s Dragonball: Evolution. He also worked with casting director Mary Vernieu and as an associate for Carla Hool on multiple projects including the Diego Luna-starrer Solo Quiero Caminar and This Is Not A Movie with Edward Furlong.
He also worked on TV series including Comedy Bang! Bang! and The Birthday Boys and as casting director on several indie features and shorts.
“When talking about acting and actors, you couldn’t find a more a more intelligent or knowledgeable man,” Henderson said. “Ask anyone from his acting classes, or who took a workshop with him, and they will back that up 100%.”
Born in Colombia, Velez came to the U.S. at 13. He spoke no English but learned from American movies and TV shows. “If Jean-Claude Van Damme could make it in the United States with an accent, then so can I,” he told friends.
“Dan was just supposed to help me around the office,” Henderson said of Velez’s brief stint as a casting intern, “but it quickly became clear that Dan had the intelligence and work ethic to make it on his own as a casting director.”
He also developed Dan Velez Acting Studio to help actors hone their craft. His latest business venture, Thespis, is an online platform for actors. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Dan Velez Scholarship Fund, which has been set up to help young actors pursue their dreams.