Elisabeth Shue Biography

Elisabeth Shue is a popular American actress. Check out this biography to know about her childhood, family life, achievements and other facts about her life.

Elisabeth Shue
Quick Facts

Birthday: October 6, 1963

Nationality: American

Famous: Actresses American Women

Age: 56 Years, 56 Year Old Females

Sun Sign: Libra

Born in: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Famous as: Actress

Height: 5'2" (157 cm), 5'2" Females


Spouse/Ex-: Davis Guggenheim (m. 1994)

children: Agnes Charles Guggenheim, Miles William Guggenheim, Stella Street Guggenheim

U.S. State: Delaware

More Facts

education: Harvard University (2000)

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Elisabeth Judson Shue is an American actress who is best known for her performance in films such as ‘The Karate Kid’, ‘Adventures in Babysitting’, ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ and the television series, ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’. Born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, she studied at Columbia High School, in Maplewood, New Jersey, and later attended Wellesley College and Harvard University. While in college, she began her tryst with acting. Initially she appeared in television commercials and became a popular face for several brands. Eventually in 1984, she made her debut in feature films by appearing in the hugely successful martial arts drama, ‘The Karate Kid’. Since then, she has acted in diverse roles in both film and television, and proved her immense versatility as an actress. Foremost on her filmography is the 1995 romantic drama film, ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ in which she portrayed the role of a toughened prostitute. She earned critical acclaim for her performance in the movie and won several awards in the best actress category; she also earned Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. In 2017, she will be appearing in the sports comedy film, ‘Battle of the Sexes’ and the action film, ‘Death Wish’.

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Elisabeth Shue
Childhood & Early Life
  • Elisabeth Shue was born on 6 October 1963 in Wilmington, Delaware. Her mother, Anne Brewster (née Wells) worked for the Chemical Banking Corporation while her father, James William Shue was a lawyer and real estate developer. Elisabeth is of mixed German and English ancestry.
  • She grew up in South Orange, New Jersey, with her three brothers: William, Andrew (also an actor), and John. Her parents divorced when she was only nine years old.
  • Apart from William, Andrew, and John, she also has two half-siblings, Jenna and Harvey Shue from her father's remarriage.
  • She graduated from Columbia High School, in Maplewood, New Jersey where in 1994 she was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.
  • After high school, she attended Wellesley College. She also began acting in television commercials around the same time to pay for college.
  • Later in 1985, she transferred to Harvard University; she fell one semester short of earning her Bachelor’s degree in 1988 as she got busy with her acting career.
  • In 1988, she lost her older brother, William, in a swimming accident while on a family vacation. Later, she returned to Harvard in 1997 and attained her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in the year 2000.
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  • Elisabeth Shue began her acting career quite early in life. While she was still a student, she began acting in television commercials and became the popular face of brands like Burger King, DeBeers diamonds, and Hellmann's mayonnaise.
  • She made her debut in feature films in 1984, starring opposite Ralph Macchio in ‘The Karate Kid’. The same year, she also played the role of a military family’s teenage daughter in the ABC television series ‘Call to Glory’ (1984-85).
  • In 1986, she appeared in the British horror film ‘Link’. The following year, she starred in her first major role in ‘Adventures in Babysitting’ (1987).
  • In 1988, she appeared with Tom Cruise in ‘Cocktail’. The following year, she played the role of Jennifer Parker in the science fiction movie, ‘Back to the Future Part II’ (1989). She also appeared in its sequel, ‘Back to the Future Part III’ in 1990.
  • In May 1990, she made her Broadway debut in ‘Some American Abroad’ at the Lincoln Center. In 1991, she appeared in two comedy films, ‘Soapdish’ and ‘The Marrying Man’.
  • In 1993, she performed on Broadway in Tina Howe's production of ‘Birth and After Birth’. The same year, she also appeared in the fantasy comedy drama film, ‘Heart and Souls’.
  • Elisabeth Shue played the role of a prostitute in the 1995 film ‘Leaving Las Vegas’, co-starring with Nicolas Cage. The role earned her critical acclaim, including an Academy Award nomination.
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  • Having proved her acting mettle, she began appearing in diverse roles. She starred in a thriller, ‘The Trigger Effect’ in 1996, and Woody Allen's comedy, ‘Deconstructing Harry’ in 1997.
  • She appeared in two thrillers, ‘The Saint’ (1997) and ‘Palmetto’ (1998); in the former, she demonstrated her impressive action skills and in the latter she played a femme fatale. She also played a supporting role in ‘Cousin Bette’ (1998).
  • In 1999, Elisabeth Shue played the role of an autistic woman in the film ‘Molly’. Next in 2000, she appeared in Paul Verhoeven's ‘Hollow Man’ which was a huge commercial success.
  • In 2001, she played the role of a mother to a teenage daughter in Oprah Winfrey’s ABC movie ‘Amy and Isabelle’. She also played supporting roles in ‘Mysterious Skin’ (2004) opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and ‘Hide and Seek’ (2005) opposite Robert De Niro.
  • In 2007, along with her two brothers, she produced ‘Gracie’, a historical sports drama film in which she also played one of the characters.
  • In 2008, she appeared in ‘Hamlet 2’ and played the role of a character who quits acting to become a nurse.
  • In 2009, she appeared on the seventh season of HBO's ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. The following year in 2010, she appeared in the horror flick ‘Piranha 3D’ as Sheriff Julie Forester.
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  • In 2012, she appeared in Mark Tonderai’s ‘House at the End of the Street’; Curtis Hanson's ‘Chasing Mavericks’; and David Frankel's ‘Hope Springs’. Also in the same year, she appeared as Julie Finlay in the twelfth season of ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’.
  • In 2014, she starred in ‘Behaving Badly’ and in 2015 she made a guest appearance in an episode of the series ‘Blunt Talk’.
  • In 2017, she will be appearing in the sports comedy film, ‘Battle of the Sexes’ opposite Steve Carell and Emma Stone, and also in Eli Roth's remake of the action film, ‘Death Wish’ opposite Bruce Willis.
Major Works
  • In 1984, along with Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue starred in ‘The Karate Kid’, a martial arts drama film directed by John G. Avildsen. Portraying an underdog’s story, the film was a huge commercial success and received much critical acclaim.
  • In 1995, she co-starred with Nicolas Cage in ‘Leaving Las Vegas’, a romantic film by Mike Figgis. In the movie, she portrayed the role of a prostitute with whom Cage’s character develops a relationship. Her performance in the film earned her several awards and nominations.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 1984, Elisabeth Shue’s performance in ‘The Karate Kid’ won her the Young Artist Award for Best Young Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.
  • In 1995, her role in ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ helped her win several awards and nominations. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama. She won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Best Actress award as well as the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Female Lead for the same role.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Elisabeth Shue married film director Davis Guggenheim in August 1994. The couple has three children together: Miles, Stella and Agnes.
  • She enjoys playing tennis.
  • In high school, she was an accomplished gymnast.
  • The 2007 film, ‘Gracie’ is loosely based on real life events that occurred in the Shue siblings’ lives.

1. The Karate Kid (1984)

  (Sport, Action, Family, Drama)

2. Back to the Future Part II (1989)

  (Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi)

3. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

  (Drama, Romance)

4. Mysterious Skin (2004)

  (Drama, Mystery)

5. Back to the Future Part III (1990)

  (Comedy, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Western)

6. Deconstructing Harry (1997)


7. Somewhere, Tomorrow (1983)

  (Drama, Fantasy)

8. Chasing Mavericks (2012)

  (Sport, Biography, Drama)

See the events in life of Elisabeth Shue in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Elisabeth Shue Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- March 02, 2017

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