D.Ramanaidu was born on 6 June 1936 into an agricultural family in Karamchedu, a village in Prakasam district in the present day Andhra Pradesh. He completed his schooling in the village and had his college education in Chirala and later graduated out of the Presidency College, Chennai. He started his career as a rice-mill owner and later got into transport business. During this time his father joined with a relative and co-produced the Telugu film Nammina Bantu (1958) starring Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Savitri. He performed the dupe of Rao in the film. The latter advised him to get to Madras (now Chennai) and work with film-makers. He closed down his rice mill as he was not happy with it, and moved to Madras in 1962. He intended to start a brick business but later switched to real estate. His frequent visits to the "Andhra Club" got him acquainted with the Telugu film fraternities. Ramanaidu got married in 1958 and had three children, two sons and a daughter. His elder son Daggubati Suresh Babu is a producer; his younger son Daggubati Venkatesh is an actor in Telugu cinema. He had eight grandchildren, two of whom – Rana Daggubati and Naga Chaitanya – are actors in Telugu cinema. He was a member of the Telugu Desam Party and represented Baptala constituency in Guntur District in the 13th Lok Sabha from 1999 to 2004. He lost the 2004 election for the same seat in the 14th Lok Sabha.
He is a multilingual Indian film producer who has been listed in Guinness Book of Records as the most prolific producer with 130 films. For his contributions to Indian cinema he has been awarded with Dadasaheb Phalke Award in the year 2009. He has also received Padma Bhushan in 2013. He has also received honorary doctorate from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati. He has a hobby of acting in a cameo role in some of his production ventures. His Bengali film, Asukh won FIPRESCI Prize at Bombay International Film Festival in the year 1999. Same movie received National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali. He has won Filmfare awards twice for best film in Telugu - Jeevana Tarangalu (1973) and Soggadu (1976). He is a politician also; a member of the Telugu Desam Party. He won from Baptala constituency in Guntur District in the 13th Lok Sabha from 1999-2004. However he lost the same seat in the next Assembly elections.