Elisabeth Judson Shue (born October
6, 1963) is an American film actress.
Shue was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Her mother, Anne Harms (née Wells),
was a bank executive who was the vice president of the private division of
the Chemical Banking Corporation. Her father, James Shue, is a lawyer and
real estate developer who was the president of the International Food and
Beverage Corporation and was active in Republican politics, having once
unsuccessfully run for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey. Her younger brother,
Andrew, is also an actor.
Shue grew up in Bergen and Essex counties in New Jersey. Her parents
divorced while she was in the fourth grade. Shue graduated from Columbia
High School, in Maplewood, New Jersey, and attended Wellesley College and
Harvard University, from which she withdrew to pursue her acting career.
She returned to Harvard to finish her degree in Government in 2000. Shue
was awarded entrance into Columbia High School's Wall of Fame in 1994,
along with her brother, the actor Andrew Shue.
During her studies at Columbia and after her parents' divorce, she found a
way to make extra money by acting in television commercials. Shue became a
common sight in ads for Burger King, DeBeers diamonds, and Hellman's
After having turned down the role of Deborah Gelly in Sergio Leone's final
film, Once Upon a Time in America, her first movie role happened in 1984,
when she co-starred in The Karate Kid as the onscreen girlfriend of Ralph
Macchio and had a role as the teenage daughter of a military family in the
short-lived series Call to Glory. She continued with Adventures in
Babysitting (her first starring role), Cocktail as the love interest of
Tom Cruise and the comedies Soapdish and The Marrying Man. She also
appeared in Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III as
Jennifer Parker, replacing original actress Claudia Wells, who declined to
reprise the role from Back to the Future due to a family illness.
Although often recognized for her girl next door image, Shue starred as a
prostitute in the 1995 film Leaving Las Vegas with Nicolas Cage. The role
earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She was also
nominated for a BAFTA, Golden Globe and SAG Award for Best Actress, and
won the Best Actress awards at the Independent Spirit Awards, Los Angeles
Film Critics Association Awards and the National Society of Film Critics
Awards. Since then, she has starred in The Trigger Effect, The Saint,
Woody Allen's Deconstructing Harry, Palmetto, and Hollow Man.
In 1999, Shue starred in Molly as an autistic young woman, who underwent
an operation that allowed her to become more "normal." She had strong
supporting roles in Hide and Seek opposite Robert De Niro and Mysterious
Skin. Shue reportedly was set to co-star with Jim Carrey in The Number 23
but became pregnant just weeks before filming and ended up losing the part
to Virginia Madsen.
In 2007, Shue and her two brothers produced Gracie. She had a role in the
film (set in 1978) and loosely based upon Elisabeth's own experiences as
the only girl on a boys soccer team.
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 – and winning – the part of
George's ex-wife for the Seinfeld reunion. She plays Virginia Sloane, a
prominent actress and Jerry Seinfeld says, “I’m surprised someone like her
would even be in this."
Known among her friends and family as "Lisa", Shue is married to Davis
Guggenheim, director of the HBO TV series Deadwood as well as the movies
An Inconvenient Truth and Gracie. Their son, Miles William, was born on
November 11, 1997. She gave birth to her first daughter, Stella Street, on
March 19, 2001. Her third child, Agnes Charles, was born on June 18, 2006.
Her son's middle name was in honor of her second brother William, who died
in 1988 at the age of 26 from a swimming accident while on family