Robert Shaye

Robert Kenneth Shaye (born March 4, 1939) is an American businessman, film producer, actor, director, writer and the founder of New Line Cinema.[2]

Robert Shaye
Robert Kenneth Shaye

(1939-03-04) March 4, 1939
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)


Early life

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]

Film career

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 1978's Get Out Your Handkerchiefs. New Line also released such films as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Other New Line films were The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, Seven, the Austin Powers film series, Boogie Nights, The Wedding Singer, Blade, Rush Hour, and the Final Destination franchise. New Line also distributed the critically acclaimed documentary Hoop Dreams in 1994 through its specialty films division, Fine Line Features.

In 1998, when director Peter Jackson brought his 25-minute pitch reel for a big screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings to New Line, hoping to turn the three volumes into two films, Shaye suggested Jackson make three films. He subsequently greenlit a simultaneous production for all three installments.[2] The Lord of the Rings trilogy was nominated for 30 Oscars, winning 17, including 11 awards for The Return of the King, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. At the box office, all three films are among the top 50 highest-grossing films of all time, earning a combined total of nearly $3 billion worldwide.

Later films distributed by New Line include Freddy vs. Jason, Elf, The Notebook, Monster-in-Law, Wedding Crashers, A History of Violence, Pan's Labyrinth, and Hairspray.

Unique Features

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.[5]


All films, he was producer unless otherwise noted.


Year Film Notes
1977StuntsExecutive producer
1981PolyesterExecutive producer
1982Alone in the Dark
XtroExecutive producer
1983The First TimeExecutive producer
1984A Nightmare on Elm Street
1985A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
1986CrittersExecutive producer
Quiet Cool
1987A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
My Demon Lover
The Hidden
StrandedExecutive producer
1988HairsprayExecutive producer
Critters 2: The Main CourseExecutive producer
The Prince of PennsylvaniaExecutive producer
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
1989A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
1990Heart ConditionAssociate producer
1991Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
1993BlinkExecutive producer
1994Wes Craven's New NightmareExecutive producer (also Actor)
2000FrequencyExecutive producer
2001The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingExecutive producer
2002The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersExecutive producer
2003Freddy vs. JasonExecutive producer
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingExecutive producer
2007The Last MimzyExecutive producer
HairsprayExecutive producer
The Golden CompassExecutive producer
2010A Nightmare on Elm StreetExecutive producer
2013The Mortal Instruments: City of BonesExecutive producer
2016When the Bough Breaks
2018Haunting on Fraternity RowExecutive producer
As director
Year Film Notes
1963ImageShort film
1965On Fighting WitchesShort film
1990Book of Love
2007The Last Mimzy
As writer
Year Film Notes
1982Alone in the DarkStory
As cinematographer
Year Film Notes
1965On Fighting WitchesShort film
Second unit director or assistant director
Year Film Notes
1984A Nightmare on Elm StreetDirector: melting staircase sequence
Year Film Notes
Boogie NightsSpecial thanks
1998Dark CityThanks
1999MagnoliaSpecial thanks
2006Kill Your DarlingsThanks
2007Run Fatboy RunThanks
2008The WomenSpecial appreciation


Year Title Notes
1988The Freddy Krueger SpecialTelevision special
1988−90Freddy's NightmaresExecutive producer
2016−19ShadowhuntersExecutive producer

See also


  1. "Robert Shaye Biography".
  2. DiGiacomo, Frank (February 4, 2009). "The Lost Tycoons". Vanity Fair.
  3. 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. 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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