A Nightmare on Elm Street ♦ Insidious ♦ Critters ♦ The Three Stooges(2012) ♦ Dumb & Dumber ♦ My Sister’s Keeper
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, 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 blockbuster “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. Other recent films include the acclaimed Nick Cassavetes’ film “My Sister’s Keeper”, “Chronic Town”, “Kush”, “Asylum”, and “American Cowslip.”
Shaye has also amassed a plethora of horror films, which has made her a cult favorite. This year she starred in the runaway hit “Insidious” alongside Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson as well as “Chillerama,” which premiered at the 2011 Comic-Con convention. In addition, her horror credits include “2001 Maniacs,” in which she starred with Robert Englund, and its sequel, “2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams,” opposite Bill Mosley. She also co-starred in Snoop Dog’s “Hood of Horror,” “Dead End,” and “Killer By Nature.” Shaye also starred in the campy feature “Snakes on a Plane” opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Julianna Margulies. Horror fans will also remember her from the horror classics “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Critters.”
Lin’s upcoming films include a re-teaming with the Farrelly Brothers in “The Three Stooges,” and the independent films “Black Velvet,” “Rosewood Lane” and “Losing Control.”
Shaye has a solid resume in television as well with guest appearances on “Crossing Jordan,” “My Name is Earl,” “Frasier,” “Becker,” “Arliss,” “Dirty Sexy Money” and most recently “ER”.
Shaye resides in Los Angeles.
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