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Robert Kenneth Shaye|
March 4, 1939
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
University of Michigan|
Columbia Law School
|Occupation||Film producer, film director, writer, actor|
|Years active||1980s – present|
|Known for||Founder of New Line Cinema|
Eva G. Lindstern (m. 1970)
|Relatives||Lin Shaye (sister)|
Shaye was born to a Jewish family in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Dorothy and Max Mendle Shaye, a supermarket owner and artist. His mother was an immigrant from Russia. He is the brother of actress Lin Shaye.
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. 
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. 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.
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.
- "Robert Shaye Biography". Filmreference.com.
- DiGiacomo, Frank (February 4, 2009). "The Lost Tycoons". Vanity Fair.
- Sheridan, Patricia (June 1, 2015). "Patricia Sheridan's Breakfast With ... Lin Shaye". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- 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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