Elizabeth Shue - Biography & Career
Elisabeth Shue may look like the typical, wholesome girl next door, but after her heartfelt portrayal of supportive prostitute Sera in Mike Figgis' Leaving Las Vegas, Elisabeth broke out of the typecast roles she was accustomed to playing.
Born on the 6th of October 1963, in Wilmington, Delaware, Elisabeth was the middle child, between older brother Will and younger brother Andrew. Surrounded by males, she was more interested in kicking soccer balls than playing with dolls. Tomboy Elisabeth finally transformed her passion for sports to gymnastics lessons.
When her mother, a bank executive, and her father, a real-estate developer and former attorney, divorced when she was only in the fourth grade, Elisabeth and her brothers had time and space to delve into smoking drugs, drinking and doing some major partying.
The innocent looking girl had everyone fooled, since she was really not as angelic as she seemed. Thanks to her wholesome appearance, she saw and learned that she could get away with anything.
While studying at Wellesely College after graduating high school, she found that the all-girl, strict environment was a refreshing change for the former party animal, and she was finally able to concentrate on her studies.
In search of another source of income while still in high school, Elisabeth followed in the footsteps of her friend who was earning money by doing commercials. In her first commercial -- which was for a Florida theme park -- she did cartwheels and flips, her gymnastics skills making her a natch for the part.
By the time she transferred to Harvard (making her the fourth generation in her family to study there), Elisabeth had already appeared in more than 50 commercials, including Burger King, Hellmann's mayonnaise and DeBeers diamonds.
In addition to the TV ads, Elisabeth also landed a role in the television series Call to Glory, and co-starred with Ralph Macchio in the 1984 hit The Karate Kid.
A semester short of graduating, Elisabeth focused on acting, with roles in Adventures in Babysitting, Cocktail, co-starring Tom Cruise, Back to the Future 2 and 3, Soapdish, and The Marrying Man.
While her bother Andrew had become a star on the primetime soap Melrose Place, Elisabeth wasn't yet given the chance to show her talent in the roles she had played at the start of her career.
This all changed when director Mike Figgis had Elisabeth in mind (she auditioned for a role in a movie he was to make that never panned out) to play the role of the goodhearted prostitute in his independent film, Leaving Las Vegas.
The film that brought both Elisabeth Shue and Nicolas Cage to the ranks of A-list actors, also made Elisabeth an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee for Best Actress, as well as a recipient for an Independent Spirit Award, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award and a National Society of Film Critics Award.
Although Elisabeth's star shot up after her role in Leaving Las Vegas, she only appeared in five more films, including, The Saint, Deconstructing Harry, Palmetto, Cousin Bette, and Molly.
She may not have been on the screen, but Shue was busy with other projects: she married television director David Guggenheim, gave birth to son Miles William in 1997, and returned to Harvard to complete her degree in political science.
With an upcoming starring role in this summer's sci-fi thriller Hollow Man, it's clear to see that this Shue is shining.