Robert Shaye

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Robert Shaye
Robert Shaye portrait.jpg
Robert Kenneth Shaye

(1939-03-04) March 4, 1939 (age 82)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Columbia Law School
OccupationFilm producer, film director, writer, actor
Years active1967 – present
Known forFounder of New Line Cinema
Eva G. Lindstern
(m. 1970)
RelativesLin Shaye (sister)

Robert Kenneth Shaye (born March 4, 1939) is an American businessman, film producer, actor, director, and writer. He is the founder of New Line Cinema, a film production studio that distributed successful blockbuster films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Lord of the Rings. In 2008, he left New Line after it merged with Warner Bros. Pictures.[2]


Early life[edit]

Shaye was born to a Jewish[3][4] family in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Dorothy and Max Mendle Shaye, a supermarket owner and artist.[1] His mother was an immigrant from Russia.[3] He is the brother of actress Lin Shaye.[3]

Shaye graduated from Detroit's Mumford High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and a J.D. degree from Columbia Law School. He also graduated from the University of Stockholm as a Fulbright scholar. Shaye is a member of the New York State Bar Association, and he has served on the board of trustees for the Neurosciences Institute, the Legal Aid Society, the American Film Institute, and the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.[2]

New Line Cinema[edit]

In 1967, Shaye formed New Line Cinema. The company started with a package of feature films and shorts rented to colleges. From there, New Line expanded to re-releases such as Reefer Madness and first-run domestic distribution of foreign films such as Get Out Your Handkerchiefs. New Line famously released blockbuster films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

On January 28, 1994, New Line Cinema was acquired by the Turner Broadcasting System for $500 million, with Shaye earning more than $100 million.[5][6]

In 1998, when New Zealand director Peter Jackson brought his 25-minute pitch reel for a big screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic The Lord of the Rings to New Line, hoping to turn the three volumes into two films, Shaye suggested Jackson make three films instead. He subsequently greenlit a simultaneous production for all three installments.[2] The Lord of the Rings was nominated a total of thirty Academy Awards, winning 17, including 11 awards for The Return of the King. At the box office, all three films are among New Line's highest-grossing films, earning a combined total of nearly $3 billion worldwide.

Unique Features[edit]

In June 2008, Shaye and company co-chairman Michael Lynne departed New Line and formed an independent film company, Unique Features. The company's recent projects include The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Sony/Constantin), the TV series Shadowhunters (Freeform Television), When the Bough Breaks (Screen Gems), and Ambition, directed by Shaye.[7]


He was a producer in all films unless otherwise noted.


Year Film Credit
1977 Stunts Executive producer
1981 Polyester Executive producer
1982 Alone in the Dark
Xtro Executive producer
1983 The First Time Executive producer
1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street
1985 A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
1986 Critters Executive producer
Quiet Cool
1987 A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
My Demon Lover
The Hidden
Stranded Executive producer
1988 Hairspray Executive producer
Critters 2: The Main Course Executive producer
The Prince of Pennsylvania Executive producer
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
1989 A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
1990 Heart Condition Associate producer
1991 Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
1993 Blink Executive producer
1994 Wes Craven's New Nightmare Executive producer
The Swan Princess Executive in Charge of Production for New Line Cinema
2000 Frequency Executive producer
2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Executive producer
2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Executive producer
2003 Freddy vs. Jason Executive producer
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Executive producer
2007 The Last Mimzy Executive producer
Hairspray Executive producer
The Golden Compass Executive producer
2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street Executive producer
2013 The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Executive producer
2016 When the Bough Breaks
2018 Haunting on Fraternity Row Executive producer
2019 Ambition
As an actor
Year Film Role Notes
1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street Newsreader / KRGR Radio Announcer Voice role
1985 A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge Bartender
1986 Quiet Cool Franklin
1987 The Hidden Man in Silver Mercedes Picking Up a Gorgeous Girl
1988 A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master Lecturer
1991 Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare Ticket Seller
1993 Loaded Weapon 1 Interrogation Room Person
Man's Best Friend Mobile Mechanic
1994 Wes Craven's New Nightmare Himself
2001 Festival in Cannes Bert Shuster
2003 Freddy vs. Jason Principal Shaye
2004 Cellular Detective Looking Guy
As director
Year Film Notes
1963 Image Short film
1965 On Fighting Witches Short film
1990 Book of Love
2007 The Last Mimzy
2019 Ambition
As writer
Year Film
1977 Stunts
1982 Alone in the Dark
As cinematographer
Year Film Notes
1965 On Fighting Witches Short film
Second unit director or assistant director
Year Film Role Notes
1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street Director: melting staircase sequence
Year Film Role
1997 Spawn Thanks
Boogie Nights Special thanks
1998 Dark City Thanks
1999 Magnolia Special thanks
2006 Kill Your Darlings Thanks
2007 Run Fatboy Run
2008 The Women Special appreciation


Year Title Credit Notes
1988 The Freddy Krueger Special Television special
1988−90 Freddy's Nightmares Executive producer
2016−19 Shadowhunters Executive producer
As an actor
Year Title Role
1988 Freddy's Nightmares The Minister

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Robert Shaye Biography".
  2. ^ a b c DiGiacomo, Frank (February 4, 2009). "The Lost Tycoons". Vanity Fair.
  3. ^ a b c Sheridan, Patricia (June 1, 2015). "Patricia Sheridan's Breakfast With ... Lin Shaye". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  4. ^ "Celebrity Jews". J. The Jewish News of Northern California. March 23, 2007. “Last Mimzy” is from a sci-fi story that was a childhood favorite of director Robert Shaye. The screenplay is by seasoned Jewish writers Toby Emmerich and Bruce Joel Rubin (who won an Oscar for his script for “Ghost’). Shaye told the Detroit Jewish News that he met Emmerich when they were kids attending a Conservative synagogue in suburban Detroit
  5. ^ "New Line to Join Ted Turner Empire Today : Film: With more money, the company is likely to add a few big movies to its annual production schedule". Los Angeles Times. January 28, 1994. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "Robert Shaye". Daily Variety (61st anniversary ed.). January 12, 1995. p. 28.
  7. ^ Busch, Anita (March 16, 2016). "Robert Shaye And Michael Lynne Pair For New Film 'Gifted'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 9, 2017.

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