Lin Shaye

Lin Shaye
Born Linda Shaye
(1943-10-12) October 12, 1943
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Alma mater University of Michigan
Occupation Actress
Years active 1971–present
Spouse(s) Marshall Rubinoff (?–1968; his death)
Clayton Landey (1988–2003; divorced; 1 child)
Relatives Robert Shaye (brother)

Linda "Lin" Shaye (born October 12, 1943) is an American film, theatre and television actress. She is regarded as a scream queen due to her roles in various horror franchises or films including A Nightmare on Elm Street, Critters, Insidious, Dead End, 2001 Maniacs and its sequel 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams, Alone in the Dark, Amityville: A New Generation, Tales of Halloween, Abattoir, Ouija and its prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil. Shaye is also known for her comedic roles in many films by the Farrelly brothers, including Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, and There's Something About Mary.

Early life

Shaye was born in Detroit, Michigan, the daughter of Dorothy (née Katz), a homemaker, and Max Mendle Shaye, a painter and supermarket owner. Her brother is film executive Robert Shaye.[1] Her family is Jewish; her mother was born in Russia, and her paternal grandparents were from Romania.[2][3][4] Shaye studied acting at the University of Michigan before she moved to New York to appear in Off Broadway productions. In 1977, she moved to Los Angeles to further pursue her acting career.[5]


In 1975, she made her film debut with a small role in Hester Street, followed by small roles in several movies and television shows. In 1978, she appeared in the Jack Nicholson-directed Western Goin' South. "I got a call saying, 'Mr Nicholson wants you in Mexico for two weeks for this small role called The Parasol Lady. It was so much fun."[6] She has since appeared in a large number of character roles.

From 1980 to 1996, she has appeared in four films by director Walter Hill: The Long Riders, Brewster's Millions, Extreme Prejudice and Last Man Standing. While back In 1984, Shaye played a teacher in A Nightmare On Elm Street. The film was distributed by New Line Cinema, the company founded by the actress' older brother Robert Shaye. She has admitted the family connection helped her a little. "My brother said, 'Put my sister in your movie!'"[6]

In 1994, she had her breakout comedy role of Mrs. Nuegeboren in the Farrelly Brothers' Dumb and Dumber. The film was released on December 16, 1994. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, it was a commercial success and developed a cult following in the years since its release.[7][8] The Farrellys then subsequently cast her as Woody Harrelson's gruesome landlady in Kingpin. Later, again giving her a role as Cameron Diaz's character's overtanned neighbor Magda in the 1998 hit There's Something About Mary. "The Farrellys said, 'We want her to look like an old leather bag,' " recalled Shaye. "It was four hours every time they put on the makeup."[6] The film was a sleeper hit, and was the highest-grossing comedy of 1998 in North America as well as the fourth-highest-grossing film of the year. The film made $369 million worldwide. For her performance, Shaye was nominated for a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress – Comedy. She followed this with 1999's Detroit Rock City as an uptight mother waging a personal war against the band Kiss.

In 2003, Shaye appeared alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. and Horatio Sanz in Boat Trip as Sonya, a horny tanning coach who begins stalking Sanz's character. That same year she co-starred with Ray Wise and Alexandra Holden in the cult horror film Dead End as Laura Harrington, and as Jenny Buono, the mother of 1970s Los Angeles serial killer Angelo Buono in The Hillside Strangler. For her role in Dead End Shaye received positive reviews and was nominated for a Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 2005, Shaye appeared in the film 2001 Maniacs as Granny Boone and again in the sequel 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams.[9] The next year she had a supporting role in the thriller Snakes on a Plane, playing Grace, the senior flight attendant who acts as the flight's purser. The film gained a considerable amount of attention before its release, forming large fanbases online and becoming an Internet phenomenon, due to the film's title, casting, and premise. Released in the United States and United Kingdom on August 18, 2006, the film received mixed to positive reviews with 68% of reviews positive and an average normalized score of 58%, according to the review aggregation websites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, respectively. In 2007, she appeared in the short films Sponsored By, Under The Gun, Midnight Snack, Time Upon a Once, Old Home Boyz, Backseat Driving Test, and The Yes Men which were directed by contestants on the reality show On the Lot.

In 2011, Shaye played medium Elise, a supporting role, in the horror film Insidious. "It scared the daylights out of me," said Shaye. "I read it in bed and, when I finished, I took it downstairs and locked it in the closet. I really was chilled to the bone by the story."[6] The film was released on April 1, 2011, and received positive reviews. It went on to gross a total of $97,009,150 worldwide.[10] It was the most profitable film of 2011.[11] Shaye received positive reviews and was nominated for a Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Fright Meter Award for Best Supporting Actress, and A Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.

On November 19, 2012, it was officially announced that Shaye, Patrick Wilson, and Rose Byrne would reprise their roles from the first film.[12] The film was released September 13, 2013. It received mixed reviews and was a box office success.[13]

On March 11, 2014, It was announced that Shaye would be returning as Elise, this time as a major role, in the third installment of the Insidious franchise.[14][15] Speaking of the role in the film, Shaye said "Elise has become this sort of bad ass in this installment, I can't even tell you how much fun that was for me. I'm not taking names!"[6] Insidious: Chapter 3 received a mixed response from critics, while Shaye's performance was widely received by film critics an audience members. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes lists a 59% approval rating, with the site's critical consensus reading, "Insidious: Chapter 3 isn't as terrifying as the original, although it boasts surprising thematic depth and is enlivened by another fine performance from Lin Shaye."[16] A writer from The Wrap opined that Shaye Shined in the film.[17] The Oakland post online positively said "Shaye is able to give the film most of its heart. Many of the horror scenes rely on her to be either the calming voice or the badass heroine, and Shaye plays both of those roles perfectly." Also saying "Insidious: Chapter 3 could have been a disaster, but thanks to some genuinely scary moments and veteran acting from Lin Shaye, the film is able to be mostly enjoyable."[18]

Personal life

Shaye has been married twice. Her first husband died in 1968. In 1988, she married actor Clayton Landey, with whom she appeared in 2002's Wish You Were Dead. The couple had one child[5] before divorcing in 2003.



Year Title Role Notes
1975 Hester Street Whore
1977 Sex and the Married Woman Sandra Television film
1978 Goin' South Parasol Lady
1979 The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal Freida Television film
1979 The Seeding of Sarah Burns 2nd Nurse Television film
1980 The Long Riders Kate
1980 A Cry for Love N/A Television film
1982 Alone in the Dark Receptionist at Haven
1982 Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again Nurse with Telegram
1984 Summer Fantasy Woman on beach Television film
1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street Teacher
1985 Brewster's Millions Journalist at Rally
1986 Critters Sally
1987 Extreme Prejudice Employment Office Clerk
1987 Slam Dance Librarian
1987 The Hidden Carol Miller
1987 The Running Man Propaganda Officer
1988 Critters 2: The Main Course Sal
1988 Lucky Stiff Bratty Kid's Mom
1990 Book of Love Mrs. Flynn
1990 Pump Up the Volume PTA Parent #3
1992 Roadside Prophets Celeste
1993 Loaded Weapon 1 Witness
1993 The Temp Rosemary
1993 Three of Hearts Operator
1993 Amityville: A New Generation Nurse Turner
1993 Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Rubber Rose Maid
1994 Corrina, Corrina Repeat Nanny
1994 Wes Craven's New Nightmare Nurse
1994 Dumb & Dumber Mrs. Neugeboren
1995 The Nature of the Beast Carol Powell
1996 Kingpin Landlady
1996 Last Man Standing The Madame
1998 Living Out Loud Lisa's Nurse
1998 There's Something About Mary Magda Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress – Comedy
1999 Detroit Rock City Mrs. Bruce
2001 Say It Isn't So Nurse Bautista
2002 Wish You Were Dead Jinny Macintosh
2002 Boat Trip Coach Sonya
2003 Who's Your Daddy? Ms. Harding
2003 National Lampoon's Barely Legal Tequila
2003 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd Margie
2003 Dead End Laura Harrington Nominated—Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress
2003 Stuck on You Makeup Babe
2004 The Hillside Strangler Jenny Buono
2004 The Latin Lover Emilia Short film
2004 A Cinderella Story Mrs. Wells
2004 Cellular Exotic Car Driver
2005 Hate Crime Kathleen Slansky
2005 Confessions of an Action Star Samantha Jones
2005 2001 Maniacs Granny Boon
2005 Drop Dead Sexy Ma Muzzy
2006 Unbeatable Harold Jeannie
2006 Bachelor Party Vegas Cassandra
2006 Hood of Horror Clara
2006 Snakes on a Plane Grace
2006 Driftwood Nancy Forrester
2006 Pledge This! Miss Prin
2006 Hoboken Hollow Mrs. Brodrick
2007 Homo Erectus Museum Guide
2007 Kush Susan
2008 Killer Pad Marge
2008 Asylum String's Mother
2009 My Sister's Keeper Nurse Adele
2009 American Cowslip Lou Anne
2010 Small Town Saturday Night Phyllis
2010 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams Granny Boone
2010 Killer by Nature Leona Whitmore
2011 Insidious Elise Reiner Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress
Fright Meter Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
2011 Sedona: The Motion Picture Claire
2011 A Good Old Fashioned Orgy Dody
2011 Chillerama Nurse Maleva
2011 Take Me Home Jill
2011 Rosewood Lane Mrs. Hawthorne
2012 The Three Stooges Nursery Nurse
2012 Jewtopia Dr. Sutton
2013 Insidious: Chapter 2 Elise Reiner
2013 Crazy Kind of Love Denise Mack also known as Long Time Gone
2013 Big Ass Spider! Mrs. Jefferson
2014 The Signal Mirabelle
2014 Ouija Paulina Zander
2015 Insidious: Chapter 3 Elise Reiner
2015 Tales of Halloween Lynn's Mother
2015 Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves Helen Keller
2016 Abattoir Allie
2016 Ouija: Origin of Evil Paulina Zander
2017 Insidious: Chapter 4 Elise Reiner In Production


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Eight Is Enough N/A Episode: "The Return of Auntie V"
1985 The New Twilight Zone Kate Simmons Episode: "Chameleon"
1986 Cagney & Lacey Secretary Episode: "DWI"
1986 Falcon Crest Smoking Female Prisoner Episode: "Unholy Alliances"
1987 Who's the Boss? Mrs. Padnick Episode: "Mona"
1988 Highway to Heaven Lila Barnes Episode: "A Mother's Love"
1991 Life Goes On Parent #2 Episode: "Life After Death"
1993 Sisters Nightmare Host #2 Episode: "Sleepless in Winnetka"
1994 My So-Called Life Parent #2 Episode: "Guns and Gossip"
1996 Frasier Anne Episode: "The Focus Group"
1997 Perversions of Science The Nurse Episode: "Dream of Doom"
1998 Becker Mrs. Cooper Episode: "Take These Pills and Shove 'Em"
2004 Crossing Jordan Leather Lauren Episode: "Is That Plutonium in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?"
2006 My Name Is Earl Paul's mom Episode: "Number One"
2007 Dirty Sexy Money Leslie Donovan Episode: "The Game"
2009 ER Margaret Episode: "And in the End..."
2013 Private Practice Mrs. Taylor Episode: "Full Release"
2015 Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight Mrs. Abramson 3 episodes
2016 American Gothic Lila Episode: "The Artist in His Museum"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actress – Comedy There's Something About Mary Nominated
2002 Method Fest Independent Film Festival Best Supporting Actress N/A Won
2004 Peñíscola Comedy Film Festival Best Actress Dead End Won
2005 Breckenridge Festival Of Film Best Supporting Actress Hate Crime Won
2005 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Supporting Actress Dead End Nominated
2012 Cyber-Horror Awards Best Supporting Actress Insidious Nominated
2012 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Supporting Actress Insidious Won
2012 Fright Meter Awards Best Supporting Actress Insidious Won
2012 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Insidious Nominated
2014 Fright Meter Awards Best Ensemble Cast Insidious: Chapter 2 Nominated


  1. Hochman, Steve (August 15, 1999). "Lin Shaye / Actor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  3. Stack, Peter (August 11, 1999). "'Mary' Star's Time to Shine / Lin Shaye changes her persona for 'Detroit Rock City'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  4. Sheridan, Patricia (June 1, 2015). "Patricia Sheridan's Breakfast With ... Lin Shaye". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  5. 1 2 "Kissing Fool". People. Time Inc. 50 (9): 210. September 14, 1998. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 Collis, Clark (June 5, 2015). "How Lin Shaye became this summer's unlikeliest action star in Insidious: Chapter 3". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  7. Box Office Information for Dumb and Dumber. The Wrap. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  8. "Top 10 Cult Comedies". Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  9. "New 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams Clip – Granny's Grotesque Cookin'". DreadCentral.
  10. "Insidious (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
  11. Staff (February 3, 2012). "James Wan in Talks to Direct "Insidious" Sequel". WorstPreviews. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  12. Kit, Borys (November 19, 2012). "Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne Coming Back for 'Insidious' Sequel". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  13. "Insidious Chapter 2 (2013)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  14. Outlaw, Kofi (March 11, 2014). "Insidious 3 Will Introduce New Story and Characters; Ghost Hunters Will Return". Screen Rant. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  15. Lin Shaye Haunted In New 'Insidious: Chapter 3' Still
  16. "Insidious: Chapter 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  17. 'Insidious: Chapter 3' Review – Lin Shaye Shines as the Original Female Ghost buster
  18. "Insidious: Chapter 3" scares, Lin Shaye shines

External links

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