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. Her family is Jewish; her mother was born in Russia, and her paternal grandparents were from Romania. 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.


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." 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!'"

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. 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." 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. 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." The film was released on April 1, 2011, and received positive reviews. It went on to gross a total of $97,009,150 worldwide. It was the most profitable film of 2011. 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. The film was released September 13, 2013. It received mixed reviews and was a box office success.

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. 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!" 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." A writer from The Wrap opined that Shaye Shined in the film. 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."

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 before divorcing in 2003.



1975Hester StreetWhore
1977Sex and the Married WomanSandraTelevision film
1978Goin' SouthParasol Lady
1979The Triangle Factory Fire ScandalFreidaTelevision film
1979The Seeding of Sarah Burns2nd NurseTelevision film
1980The Long RidersKate
1980A Cry for LoveN/ATelevision film
1982Alone in the DarkReceptionist at Haven
1982Jekyll and Hyde... Together AgainNurse with Telegram
1984Summer FantasyWoman on beachTelevision film
1984A Nightmare on Elm StreetTeacher
1985Brewster's MillionsJournalist at Rally
1987Extreme PrejudiceEmployment Office Clerk
1987Slam DanceLibrarian
1987The HiddenCarol Miller
1987The Running ManPropaganda Officer
1988Critters 2: The Main CourseSal
1988Lucky StiffBratty Kid's Mom
1990Book of LoveMrs. Flynn
1990Pump Up the VolumePTA Parent #3
1992Roadside ProphetsCeleste
1993Loaded Weapon 1Witness
1993The TempRosemary
1993Three of HeartsOperator
1993Amityville: A New GenerationNurse Turner
1993Even Cowgirls Get the BluesRubber Rose Maid
1994Corrina, CorrinaRepeat Nanny
1994Wes Craven's New NightmareNurse
1994Dumb & DumberMrs. Neugeboren
1995The Nature of the BeastCarol Powell
1996Last Man StandingThe Madame
1998Living Out LoudLisa's Nurse
1998There's Something About MaryMagdaNominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress – Comedy
1999Detroit Rock CityMrs. Bruce
2001Say It Isn't SoNurse Bautista
2002Wish You Were DeadJinny Macintosh
2002Boat TripCoach Sonya
2003Who's Your Daddy?Ms. Harding
2003National Lampoon's Barely LegalTequila
2003Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met LloydMargie
2003Dead EndLaura HarringtonNominated—Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress
2003Stuck on YouMakeup Babe
2004The Hillside StranglerJenny Buono
2004The Latin LoverEmiliaShort film
2004A Cinderella StoryMrs. Wells
2004CellularExotic Car Driver
2005Hate CrimeKathleen Slansky
2005Confessions of an Action StarSamantha Jones
20052001 ManiacsGranny Boon
2005Drop Dead SexyMa Muzzy
2006Unbeatable HaroldJeannie
2006Bachelor Party VegasCassandra
2006Hood of HorrorClara
2006Snakes on a PlaneGrace
2006DriftwoodNancy Forrester
2006Pledge This!Miss Prin
2006Hoboken HollowMrs. Brodrick
2007Homo ErectusMuseum Guide
2008Killer PadMarge
2008AsylumString's Mother
2009My Sister's KeeperNurse Adele
2009American CowslipLou Anne
2010Small Town Saturday NightPhyllis
20102001 Maniacs: Field of ScreamsGranny Boone
2010Killer by NatureLeona Whitmore
2011InsidiousElise ReinerFangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress
Fright Meter Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
2011Sedona: The Motion PictureClaire
2011A Good Old Fashioned OrgyDody
2011ChilleramaNurse Maleva
2011Take Me HomeJill
2011Rosewood LaneMrs. Hawthorne
2012The Three StoogesNursery Nurse
2012JewtopiaDr. Sutton
2013Insidious: Chapter 2Elise Reiner
2013Crazy Kind of LoveDenise Mackalso known as Long Time Gone
2013Big Ass Spider!Mrs. Jefferson
2014The SignalMirabelle
2014OuijaPaulina Zander
2015Insidious: Chapter 3Elise Reiner
2015Tales of HalloweenLynn's Mother
2015Helen Keller vs. NightwolvesHelen Keller
2016Ouija: Origin of EvilPaulina Zander
2017Insidious Chapter 4Elise ReinerIn Production


1977Eight Is EnoughN/AEpisode: "The Return of Auntie V"
1985The New Twilight ZoneKate SimmonsEpisode: "Chameleon"
1986Cagney & LaceySecretaryEpisode: "DWI"
1986Falcon CrestSmoking Female PrisonerEpisode: "Unholy Alliances"
1987Who's the Boss?Mrs. PadnickEpisode: "Mona"
1988Highway to HeavenLila BarnesEpisode: "A Mother's Love"
1991Life Goes OnParent #2Episode: "Life After Death"
1993SistersNightmare Host #2Episode: "Sleepless in Winnetka"
1994My So-Called LifeParent #2Episode: "Guns and Gossip"
1996FrasierAnneEpisode: "The Focus Group"
1997Perversions of ScienceThe NurseEpisode: "Dream of Doom"
1998BeckerMrs. CooperEpisode: "Take These Pills and Shove 'Em"
2004Crossing JordanLeather LaurenEpisode: "Is That Plutonium in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?"
2006My Name Is EarlPaul's momEpisode: "Number One"
2007Dirty Sexy MoneyLeslie DonovanEpisode: "The Game"
2009ERMargaretEpisode: "And in the End..."
2013Private PracticeMrs. TaylorEpisode: "Full Release"
2015Things You Shouldn't Say Past MidnightMrs. Abramson3 episodes
2016American GothicLilaEpisode: "The Artist in His Museum"

Awards and nominations

1999Blockbuster Entertainment AwardsFavorite Supporting Actress – ComedyThere's Something About MaryNominated
2002Method Fest Independent Film FestivalBest Supporting ActressN/AWon
2004Peñíscola Comedy Film FestivalBest ActressDead EndWon
2005Breckenridge Festival Of FilmBest Supporting ActressHate CrimeWon
2005Fangoria Chainsaw AwardsBest Supporting ActressDead EndNominated
2012Cyber-Horror AwardsBest Supporting ActressInsidiousNominated
2012Fangoria Chainsaw AwardsBest Supporting ActressInsidiousWon
2012Fright Meter AwardsBest Supporting ActressInsidiousWon
2012Saturn AwardsBest Supporting ActressInsidiousNominated
2014Fright Meter AwardsBest Ensemble CastInsidious: Chapter 2Nominated