- “I know that things have been kinda up and down for me lately...and that's been hard for you. But I really feel like my moment's coming...and when it does, everything's just gonna come together.”
- ―Larry to Nick
- “Remember the other night you were saying something about the key to happiness? I think I got it figured out. It's doing what you love, isn't it? With people you love.”
- ―Larry to Teddy
Larry Daley is the main protagonist in the Night at the Museum films and video games. He is the father of his son, Nick Daley. His character based on Hector in children's picture book by Milan Trenc.
Larry started off as a man who had trouble finding work, his inventing career did not take off for a while so he decided to work at the Museum of Natural History as a night guard. When he found out that everything came to life he wanted to quit. But then he realized that he needed to protect the Tablet of Ahkmenrah or everything in the museum would turn to dust.
When Larry tells Cecil about how Dexter tore up his instructions, Cecil advises him to study history to prepare himself for his nightly duties. He also learns history from a museum docent Rebecca Hutman, who is writing a dissertation on Sacagawea, but does not feel she knows enough about her subject. Later he told Rebecca truth about Museum, but not believed him and think he mocked her and museum.
Later, the tablet got stolen by Cecil and two other night guards so Larry and the other members of the museum set out to retrieve it. They ended up getting the tablet and restoring it to it's rightful spot in the museum.
Rebecca sees the exhibits return to the museum before sunrise and realizes that Larry was telling the truth; he introduces her to Sacagawea. Dr. McPhee fires Larry again after seeing news reports of the strange events around the museum – such as cave paintings in the museum's subway station, dinosaur footprints in Central Park, and cavemen sightings. However, upon seeing how much these events raised attendance, he thinks better of it and gives Larry his job back. Larry, Nick, and the exhibits celebrate the following night and throw a huge party for everyone.
Three years after the events of the first film, Larry now runs his own company Daily Devices in which he invented the Glow-in-the-DarkFlashlight, Super Big Dog Bone and the Unloseable Key ring. And eventually quit job. He visits to the museum, discovering most of the exhibits will be moved to the Federal Archives at the Smithsonian Institution, replaced with holographic information providers and The Tablet of Ahkmenrah is to remain in the museum, leaving most of the exhibits without the ability to come to life at night. After the exhibits are moved, Larry receives a phone call from Jedediah, who informs him that Dexter the monkey stole the tablet and took it to the Smithsonian, bringing every exhibit in it to life.
Larry travels to Washington, DC, navigating his way to the archives with help from his son Nick while posing as a night guard. Larry finds his friends trapped in their shipping container under attack from Ahkmenrah's evil older brother Kahmunrah, accidentally activating the tablet and bringing the exhibits in the Smithsonian to life again and defeated him with help his friends, General Custer and Amelia Earhart.
Amelia flies Larry and the New York exhibits back home. Even though Larry does love Amelia, they both know she has to leave, knowing she will become dust before reaching the Smithsonian. However, the two share a final kiss before she takes off.
Later Larry sells his company, donating the money to the museum to renovate it and keep it open later into the night, and the exhibits remain, capable of moving about at night under the pretence of being animatronics or hired re-enactors. Larry is rehired as a night guard and aids a woman named Tess who resembles Amelia during the debut of the museum's new extension of visiting hours.
In beginning of third film Larry also head of Night Program now and has a Planetarium exhibit grand opening being spectated Dr. McPhee. But the grand opening goes haywire, creating trouble with his job and McPhee getting fired. Everyone later calms down, uncertain of what happened until they look at the Tablet and notice the corrosion. He comes home to find a wild party taking place in his apartment with Nicky acting as DJ. As they talk after everyone leaves, his son tells Larry he does not want to go to college but instead wants to take a year off.
On his quest to find answers, Larry discovers a picture of the boy and his father during the Ahkmenrah's expedition. He learns that the boy is C.J. Fredericks, better known to Larry as Cecil Fredericks, the former museum security guard that tried to steal the Tablet for himself. Larry explains to Cecil what's happening, and he recalls hearing "The end will come". He suggests that they find Ahkmenrah's parents, who are all the way in the British Museum of Natural History in London. Larry later goes to McPhee and convinces him to call the British Museum and allow Larry to travel there with Ahkmenrah.
Larry with his son and the exhibits come to London. Later on in London Nicky tells Larry he wants to be a DJ on Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain. Larry is incredulous and even asks Nicky is he even knows how to speak Spanish, which Nicky doesn't.
They meet the security guard of that museum, Tilly, an obese but cheerful young lady who is eccentric and thinks being an American security guard would be cooler than where she's at. Since the Tablet now brings the British exhibits to life, the gang first encounters a triceratops skeleton that chases after them. They are saved by Sir Lancelot, who punches the triceratops in the nose.
The gang finds the tombs of Ahkmenrah's parents, Merenkahre and Shepseheret. Merenkahre is at first hesitant to reveal the truth behind the Tablet, but he eventually admits that it was a gift made for his son when he was a baby. It needs moonlight to retain its magic. Then, Lancelot reveals his true intention to steal the Tablet as he holds Nick with a knife to his neck. Larry surrenders the Tablet, and Lancelot runs off with it to find Guinevere and win her over. The Tablet continues to corrode, causing Teddy's arms to freeze up and Ahkmenrah began to age.
The gang races to find Lancelot, but are cornered by lion statues. Larry distracts them with a flashlight like in the cat video. Tilly then locks Larry and Laa in the security room. There, Larry starts to think about his relationship with Nick. Laa points to his head and Larry thinks he means he needs to open his mind to Nick's interests, but Laa just smashes the glass with his head and breaks Larry out.
Larry and the gang chase Lancelot trough the theater to the roof where he takes a torch and the Tablet. Larry follows him and corners Lancelot on the roof. However, the Tablet's magic is now almost completely gone. Teddy, Sacajawea, Ahkmenrah, Dexter, Jed and Octavius all freeze up. Larry convinces Lancelot to give him back to Tablet to save his friends. He lets the moonlight hit it, restoring the Tablet's golden look and bringing everyone back to life.
Teddy Roosevelt and others New York exhibits decided that Ahkmenrah (with Tablet) should stay with his parents if they not become alive again. Larry unwillingly accepts their decision and before returning home he tell Tilly that her boring job become coolest since tomorrow night. After that their return in New York he spend last sunset with his friends and Nick.
Three years later, a British History event is happening at the Museum of Natural History. Tilly shows up to McPhee's office with a box. McPhee says that Larry help him return his position as director by took blame on himself. And he went back to school, got his degree and became teacher. Tilly revealed truth to McPhee about Tablet and her magic abilities because Larry told her to do it and McPhee can be trusted. She brings McPhee to show all the exhibits come to life, including some new light displays and the exhibits play music and party together. Outside, Larry watches and smiles.
- In the third film Larry mentions he is half Jewish and half Irish just like his actor Ben Stiller.
- He has a father named Milton and a son named Nick from previous marriage.
- Larry lived in Brooklyn in first film, but reveled in third he moved out to Manhattan.
- According to the videogame, Larry also has a cousin and he describes "evil", also mean and hurtful.
- At the beginning of the third film, Nick mentions that Larry didn't go to college until at the end of that film he went to college and got his degree, but in the videogame he mentioned passing GED and graduating from Brooklyn Community College.
- Ben Stiller watched Mission: Impossible movies in order to run the way his long-time friend Tom Cruise does.