Elisabeth Shue

Elisabeth Shue

Elisabeth Shue in 2007
Born Elisabeth Judson Shue
(1963-10-06) October 6, 1963
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
Other names Lisa Shue
Alma mater Harvard University (2000)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1982present
Spouse(s) Davis Guggenheim (m. 1994)
Children 3
Relatives Andrew Shue (brother)

Elisabeth Judson Shue (born October 6, 1963) is an American actress, known for her roles in the films The Karate Kid (1984), Adventures in Babysitting (1987), Cocktail (1988), Back to the Future Part II (1989), Back to the Future Part III (1990), Soapdish (1991), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), The Saint (1997), and Hollow Man (2000). She has won several acting awards and has been nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. She starred as Julie Finlay in the CBS police drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation from 2012 to 2015.[1]

Early life

Shue was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the daughter of Anne Brewster (née Wells; b. 1938), and James William Shue (19362013),[2] a one-time congressional candidate, lawyer, and real estate developer, who was president of the International Food and Beverage Corporation. Her mother was a vice president in the private banking division of the Chemical Banking Corporation[3][4][5] Shue grew up in South Orange, New Jersey. Her parents divorced when she was nine.[6][7] Shue's mother is a descendant of Pilgrim leader William Brewster, while her father's family emigrated from Germany to Pennsylvania in the early 19th century.[8][9] Shue was raised with her three brothers, Will, Andrew, and John, and was very close to her siblings. Her younger brother, Andrew, is also an actor, best known for his role as Billy Campbell in the Fox series Melrose Place. Shue graduated from Columbia High School, in Maplewood, New Jersey, where she and Andrew were inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1994. She has two half-siblings from her father's remarriage, Jenna and Harvey Shue.[10][11]

Shue attended Wellesley College and, in her junior year, was inspired by a friend to work in television commercials as a way to pay for college. She transferred to Harvard University in 1985, from which she withdrew to pursue her acting career one semester short of earning her degree. The same year she left Harvard, 1988, her older brother, William, died in a swimming accident while on a family vacation. She returned to Harvard in 1997 and completed her BA in political science in 2000.[12]


1980s and early 1990s

During her studies at Columbia High School and after her parents' divorce, Shue acted in television commercials. Shue became a common sight in ads for Burger King, DeBeers diamonds, and Hellmann's mayonnaise.[13]

Shue made her feature film debut in 1984, when she co-starred opposite Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid as the love interest of Macchio's character. Shue had a role as the teenage daughter of a military family in the short-lived series Call to Glory and, in 1986, starred alongside Terence Stamp in the British simian horror film Link. She continued with Adventures in Babysitting (her first starring role), Cocktail as the love interest of Tom Cruise's character and the comedies Soapdish and The Marrying Man with Sally Field and Alec Baldwin, respectively. She appeared as Jennifer Parker in the 1989 Back to the Future Part II and the 1990 Back to the Future Part III, succeeding Claudia Wells, who declined to reprise the role from Back to the Future because of a family illness.

In May 1990, Shue made her Broadway debut in Some American Abroad at the Lincoln Center.[14] Also on Broadway, in 1993, she performed in Tina Howe's production of Birth and After Birth.[15] Also in 1993, she played Robert Downey Jr.'s girlfriend in the romantic comedy Heart and Souls.


Although often cast as a girl-next-door type, Shue starred as a prostitute in the 1995 film Leaving Las Vegas with Nicolas Cage. The role earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She was also nominated for a BAFTA, Golden Globe and SAG Award for Best Actress, and won Best Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards and the National Society of Film Critics Awards. Her career flourished after her Oscar nomination, landing her diverse roles. She starred in The Trigger Effect in 1996. Woody Allen's Deconstructing Harry showcased her comedic abilities amongst heavyweight co-stars Billy Crystal, Demi Moore, Robin Williams and Stanley Tucci. Shue also displayed some action movie skills in the 1997 spy remake The Saint as Val Kilmer's love interest. The thriller Palmetto (1998) afforded her the chance to play a film noir-ish femme fatale opposite Woody Harrelson; and Paul Verhoeven's Hollow Man (2000) with Kevin Bacon proved another summer blockbuster.

In 1999, Shue starred with Aaron Eckhart in Molly as an autistic young woman who undergoes an operation that allows her to become more "normal." She played a mother that reveals her dark past to her teenaged daughter in the 2001 ABC movie Oprah Winfrey Presents: Amy and Isabelle. Shue also had supporting roles in Cousin Bette with Jessica Lange, Hide and Seek opposite Robert De Niro, and Mysterious Skin opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

In 2007, Shue and her two brothers produced Gracie. She had a role in the film loosely based on her own experiences as the only girl on a boys' soccer team. Andrew initially conceived of it as a story about their late brother William, the oldest Shue sibling, who was the captain of the high school soccer team; he died in a freak accident, while the family was on a vacation in 1988. The character of Johnny was based on Will.[16][17]

In 2008, Shue starred in Hamlet 2 as a fictionalized version of herself. In the film, she has quit acting to become a nurse and is the favorite actress of Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan). In 2009, Shue appeared on the seventh season of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm as an actress competing with Cheryl Hines's character for the part of George's ex-wife for the Seinfeld reunion. In 2010, Shue top-lined the horror flick Piranha 3D as Sheriff Julie Forester.

In 2012, Shue appeared in three wide-release theatrical films: the thriller House at the End of the Street with Jennifer Lawrence; Curtis Hanson's Chasing Mavericks opposite Gerard Butler; and David Frankel's Hope Springs as Karen the bartender in a cameo scene with Meryl Streep. Also in 2012, Shue joined the cast of Season 12's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as Julie Finlay opposite Ted Danson, and replacing Marg Helgenberger. Finlay is the newest CSI, who just finished anger-management classes.[18] She continued in the role until the end of Season 15 where her character's fate was left hanging in the balance, later revealed in the two-part 2015 tv movie wrap-up finale of the entire series to have died (Shue did not appear). During her time on the series Shue re-united with Back to the Future alumni Lea Thompson who guest starred in an episode of Season 14.

In 2014 she appeared as a cougar in Behaving Badly with all-star cast including Selena Gomez, Nat Wolff and Heather Graham. In 2015 she guest-starred in an episode of the Patrick Stewart series Blunt Talk.

In 2017 she will be appearing in Battle of the Sexes opposite Steve Carell and Emma Stone; and Eli Roth's remake of Death Wish opposite Bruce Willis, playing his wife, played by Hope Lange in the original starring Charles Bronson, where the character was brutally raped and murdered. In this movie Shue will be re-united with Vincent D'Onofrio who featured in Adventures in Babysitting with her.

Personal life

Known to her friends and family as Lisa, Shue is married to film director Davis Guggenheim.[19] Their son, Miles was born in 1997. She gave birth to their first daughter, Stella in 2001. Their third child, Agnes, was born in 2006.[20]



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Somewhere, Tomorrow Margie
1984 Karate Kid, TheThe Karate Kid Ali Mills
1986 Link Jane Chase
1987 Adventures in Babysitting Chris Parker
1988 Cocktail Jordan Mooney
1989 Body Wars Dr. Cynthia Lair Disney attraction
1989 Back to the Future Part II Jennifer Parker
1990 Back to the Future Part III
1991 Marrying Man, TheThe Marrying Man Adele Horner
1991 Soapdish Lori Craven / "Angelique"
1993 Twenty Bucks Emily Adams
1993 Heart and Souls Anne
1994 Radio Inside Natalie
1995 Underneath, TheThe Underneath Susan Crenshaw
1995 Leaving Las Vegas Sera Nominated for Academy Award for Best Actress
1996 Trigger Effect, TheThe Trigger Effect Annie Kay
1997 Saint, TheThe Saint Dr. Emma Russell
1997 Deconstructing Harry Fay
1998 Palmetto Mrs. Donnelly / Rhea Malroux
1998 Cousin Bette Jenny Cadine
1999 Molly Molly McKay
2000 Hollow Man Linda McKay
2002 Tuck Everlasting Narrator
2004 Mysterious Skin Mrs. McCormick
2005 Hide and Seek Elizabeth Young
2005 Dreamer Lilly Crane
2007 Gracie Lindsay Bowen
2007 First Born Laura
2008 Hamlet 2 Herself
2009 Don McKay Sonny
2010 Piranha 3D Julie Forester
2010 Janie Jones Mary Ann Jones
2010 Waking Madison Dr. Elizabeth Barnes
2012 Hope Springs Karen, The Bartender
2012 House at the End of the Street Sarah Cassidy
2012 Chasing Mavericks Kristy Moriarity
2014 Behaving Badly Pamela Bender
2017 Battle of the Sexes Mrs Riggs Post-production
2017 Death Wish Lucy Kersey Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1982 Royal Romance of Charles and Diana, TheThe Royal Romance of Charles and Diana Lynn Osborne Television film
1984–1985 Call to Glory Jackie Sarnac Main role (23 episodes)
1987 Wonderful World of Color Kathy Shelton Episode: "Double Switch"
1992 General Motors Playwrights Theater, TheThe General Motors Playwrights Theater Alice Adams Episode: "Hale the Hero"
1993 Dream On Maura Barish Episode: "Oral Sex, Lies and Videotape"
2001 Amy & Isabelle Isabelle Goodrow Movie
2009 Curb Your Enthusiasm Virginia Episodes: "Officer Krupke", "Seinfeld"
2012–2015 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Julie Finlay Main role (71 episodes)
2015 Blunt Talk Suzanne Mayview Episode: "The Queen of Hearts"

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1984 Young Artist Awards Best Young Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical, Comedy, Adventure or Drama The Karate Kid Won
1986 Saturn Awards Best Actress Link Nominated
1995 Awards Circuit Community Awards Best Actress Leaving Las Vegas Won
Independent Spirit Awards Best Female Lead Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Actress Won
National Society of Film Critics Best Actress Won
Academy Awards Best Actress Nominated
BAFTA Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Nominated


  1. "Check out the cast for the CSI goodbye special - EW.com". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com.
  2. Obituary for James Shue retrieved 2/20/2015
  3. Elisabeth Shue Biography (1963-), Film Reference
  4. "Weddings;Jody Buonanno, John M. Shue". The New York Times. June 4, 1995.
  5. Special to The New York Times. (1961-09-12). "Son to Mrs... W. Shue - Birth Notice - NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
  6. Bandler, Michael J. "The Will to Win; Elisabeth Shue and her brother Andrew had a dream to honor their brother’s memory with a film about family and soccer. They didn’t trust Hollywood to get it right, so they financed and filmed it here at home.", New Jersey Monthly, December 20, 2007. Accessed December 23, 2013.
  7. Actress in `Babysitting' takes charge of her life, Author: Bob Strauss, Date: July 12, 1987 Publication: Chicago Sun-Times
  8. Carr, Jay (1991-05-26). "Elisabeth Shue commutes from academe to Tinseltown". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  9. Rader, Dotson (1997-11-23). "Let Yourself Feel It All". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  10. "Elisabeth Shue Biography - Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  11. Columbia High School - Library Information Technology Center Archived October 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. The Harvard Guide: A Harvard Yearbook, James - Updike Archived September 2, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. "Elisabeth Shue - You can enjoy the screams and the gore and the fun". The Independent. 2010-08-13. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
  14. "Internet Broadway Database". The Broadway League. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  15. Surette, Tim. "Elisabeth Shue". TV.com. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  16. Bonelli, Winnie (2007-06-13). "Elisabeth Shue Revisits Her Past". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  17. Stoynoff, Natasha (2007-06-11). "Catching Up with ... Elisabeth & Andrew Shue". People. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  18. Andreeva, Nellie. "'CSI's New Leading Lady: Elisabeth Shue To Replace Marg Helgenberger On CBS Series". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
  19. "Elisabeth Shue". womencelebs.com.
  20. Elisabeth Shue - Profile, Latest News and Related Articles Archived December 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
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