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Robert Shaye
Robert Kenneth Shaye

(1939-03-04) March 4, 1939 (age 85)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Columbia Law School
Occupation(s)Film producer, film director, writer, actor
Years active1963–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. Shaye is the founder of New Line Cinema, a film production studio that is most successful for distributing The Lord of the Rings film series, based on the classic fantasy novel of the same name by English author J. R. R. Tolkien and directed by New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson. He retired from New Line in 2008 after the studio merged with Warner Bros. Pictures.[2]


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]

New Line Cinema

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 released blockbuster films in the 1980s such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In 1994, New Line was acquired by the Turner Broadcasting System for $500 million, with Shaye earning more than $100 million.[5][6] Later, in 1996, Turner Broadcasting System became part of Time Warner (which is currently known as WarnerMedia), a merger between Time Inc. and Warner Communications. When Shaye retired from New Line in 2008, the studio was merged with Warner Bros. Pictures.

In 1998, when New Zealand director Peter Jackson brought his 36-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 and most popular films, earning a combined total of nearly $3 billion worldwide.

Investing career

Independently and through his family office Lemoko Management Company[7] he is an active investor in companies like Brat TV.[8]

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.[9]


He was a producer in all films unless otherwise noted.


Year Film Credit
1977 Stunts Executive producer
1981 Polyester
1982 Alone in the Dark
Xtro Executive producer
1983 The First Time
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
Critters 2: The Main Course
The Prince of Pennsylvania
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
2000 Frequency
2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2003 Freddy vs. Jason
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2007 The Last Mimzy
The Golden Compass
2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street
2013 The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
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
1973 The Best of the New York Erotic Film Festival
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
2019 Girl Blood Sport Special thanks
Motherless Brooklyn The director wishes to thank


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
Production manager
Year Title Role
2011 SpongeBob SquarePants Executive in charge of production

See also


  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. 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. ^ "LEMOKO MANAGEMENT COMPANY, INC. In West Hollywood, CA | Company Info".
  8. ^ "Bob Shaye Joins Brat TV as Strategic Investor". Variety. September 22, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  9. ^ Busch, Anita (March 16, 2016). "Robert Shaye And Michael Lynne Pair For New Film 'Gifted'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 9, 2017.