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Lin Shaye

Lin Shaye knew that she was destined to act for as long as she could remember. She performed in plays in college at the University of Michigan and then was accepted into Columbia University's Master of Fine Arts program in acting. After graduation, she honed her skills by acting in plays with the best and brightest in New York theater, including directors like the infamous Joseph Papp and Des Macanuff. Some of the highlights include Tartuffe (at the New York Shakespeare Festival), The Tempest and The Taking of Miss Janie at Lincoln Center (which won the Drama Critics Award).

Shaye made her film debut in New York in Hester Street where she portrayed a Polish prostitute, much to her mother's chagrin. Shortly thereafter, she flew to Los Angeles after hearing that Jack Nicholson was interested in meeting her. Her airline ticket proved to be a worthwhile investment – she was cast in his film Goin' South. Upon her move to Los Angeles, her love of theater inspired her and 12 other actors to put together a theater company called the Los Angeles Theater Unit in 1982 which lasted for a decade and earned many awards. Her most memorable performance was in Better Days which earned her a Drama-Logue Award for Best Actress.

The talented and versatile actress continued to work regularly and is undoubtedly one of the industry's greatest chameleons. The Farrelly Brothers gave Shaye her first in a series of memorable characters in their 1994 hit comedy Dumb and Dumber. They went on to cast her as the infamous landlady in Kingpin opposite Woody Harrelson, and then as ‘Magda,' the sun-withered neighbor of Cameron Diaz in their hit There Something About Mary. She was also unforgettable as the KISS-hating mom in Detroit Rock City and as Sonia, the tough German/Swedish coach in Boat Trip with Cuba Gooding Jr. In a dramatic change of pace, she received critical acclaim in The Hillside Strangler as the alcoholic mother opposite Nick Turturro and C. Thomas Howell.

She has also amassed a plethora of horror films, which has made her a cult favorite with such credits as 2001 Maniacs, in which she starred with Robert Englund, and its sequel, 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams, Snoop Dog's Hood of Horror, Dead End, and Killer By Nature, soon to be released, also starring Ron Pearlman and Armand Assante. Shaye also starred in the thriller Snakes on a Plane opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Julianna Margulies. Other recent films include the acclaimed Nick Cassavetes' film My Sister's Keeper, Chronic Town, Kush, Asylum, and American Cowslip. Upcoming films include: Small Town Saturday Night starring Chris Pine, A Good Old Fashion Orgy, The Land Of The Astranauts starring David Arquette, Penthouse, Dark Moon Rising, and Losing Control.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2011.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Lin Shaye Facts

Birth Name Linda Shaye
BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan, USA

Selected Filmography

Take Me Home
The Running Man
Insidious: Chapter 3
There's Something About Mary
A Cinderella Story
Insidious: Chapter 2
Lost Time
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