Date of Birth: 1960
American born, Tom Shadyac moved to L.A. in 1983 to pursue his dream of working in the film industry. With experience as a stand-up comic, having appeared regularly at the Improv on Melrose, Shadyac landed a job as a staff joke writer for comedian Bob Hope.
While in Los Angeles occasionally winning acting roles -- on such series as Magnum, P.I. and Trapper John, M.D. and in the feature film, Jocks (1986) -- he worked toward a masters degree from UCLA. During his time in university he completed an acclaimed short film entitled Tom, Dick and Harry. Completing his masters in 1989, Shadyac was soon hired by Fox to help write telefilms like Frankenstein: The College Years -- which he also directed.
The early '90s also saw a friendship bloom between Shadyac and fellow comedian, Jim Carrey. Working together they wrote the script Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. A silly detective story surrounding an even more buffoonish detective, the feature hit theatres in 1994 and viewers couldn't get enough of it. Making more than $200 million at the box office, Ace Ventura sent Carrey soaring into stardom and finally opened the doors to Hollywood for Shadyac.
It took two years for him to release his next feature, The Nutty Professor (1996) starring Eddie Murphy. The remake of the 1964 classic fared well at the box office and even garnered a sequel a few years later. Shadyac then teamed up with Carrey again to make Liar, Liar (1997), another smash hit with viewers worldwide.
Shadyac finished off the 20th century with the popular film Patch Adams, starring veteran comedian Robin Williams. Taking a break from comedy, Shadyac took a stab at the thriller Dragonfly (2002), starring Kevin Costner, but the film was a financial and critical failure.