|Born||Robert Kenneth Shaye
March 4, 1939
Detroit, Michigan, United States
|Alma mater||University of Michigan
Columbia Law School
|Occupation||CEO, chairman of New Line Cinema, film producer, film director, writer, actor|
|Years active||1980's – present|
|Spouse(s)||Eva G. Lindstern (m. 1970; 2 children)|
|Relatives||Lin Shaye (sister)|
Robert Shaye founded New Line Cinema in 1967 and guided the company's growth from a privately held distributor of art films into the entertainment industry’s top independent motion picture production and distribution company.
It was while working at the Museum of Modern Art that Shaye first began to explore the world of distribution. In 1967, he formed New Line Cinema in his Greenwich Village apartment. Starting with a package of feature films and shorts rented to colleges and building on early re-releases such as Reefer Madness and first-run domestic distribution of foreign films, New Line broke out commercially with such popular franchises as the Street Fighter series, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, and A Nightmare on Elm Street series. Those successful franchises set the stage for a string of New Line hits including Rush Hour, the Austin Powers film series, Mask, Dumb & Dumber, The Wedding Singer, Seven, Boogie Nights, and Blade.
In 1998, when writer/director Peter Jackson brought his 25-minute pitch reel for a big screen epic 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 and greenlit an unprecedented simultaneous production for all three installments. Combined, The Lord of the Rings trilogy was nominated for 30 Oscars, winning 17, including a clean sweep of 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 grossing films of all time, earning a combined total of nearly $3 billion worldwide. This capped a very long list of films over many years including, Elf, Freddy vs. Jason, the Final Destination series, Wedding Crashers, Monster-in-Law, The Notebook, Hairspray; Oscar-nominated A History of Violence. In total, Shaye to date, has overseen the production or distribution of more than 500 feature films.
Shaye earned his degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and his J.D. degree from Columbia University Law School. He is a Fulbright Scholar, a member of the New York State Bar, and he has served on the Board of Trustees for the Neuroscience Institute, Motion Picture Pioneers, the American Film Institute and the Legal Aid Society. 2014 was part as one of the experts in the documentary film Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau.
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