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Shady Acres Entertainment

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Shady Acres Entertainment

Tom Shadyac
Born Thomas Peter Shadyac
(1958-12-11) December 11, 1958 (age 55)
Falls Church, Virginia, US
Education University of Virginia
Occupation Comedian, screenwriter, director, producer, author, occasional actor
Years active 1984–present
Notable work(s) Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
The Nutty Professor
Liar Liar
Bruce Almighty
I Am

Thomas Peter "Tom" Shadyac (born December 11, 1958) is an American comedian, director, screenwriter, producer, author, and occasional film actor. Shadyac, who was the youngest joke-writer ever for comedian Bob Hope,[1] is widely known for writing and directing the films Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Nutty Professor, Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty, and I Am. He is well known as being a Christian and many of his films have Christian themes. He is an adjunct professor of communication and teaches screenwriting at Pepperdine University's Seaver College.[1]

Background and personal life

Shadyac was born in Falls Church, Virginia, to Julie and Richard Shadyac, a lawyer.[2] His mother was of Lebanese descent and his father was of half Irish and half Lebanese ancestry.[3] His mother, who died of cancer in 1998, had become semi-quadriplegic and spent much of Shadyac's adult life in a wheelchair.[1]

Shadyac graduated from J. E. B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, Virginia, in 1976. There he had played basketball, participated in the Key Club and made the Junior National and National Honor Societies. In both 1975 and 1976 Tom was included in Who's Who Among High School Students.

His older brother, Richard, was an attorney and is currently CEO of St. Jude's Children's Hospital fund-raising arm, ALSAC.

As a pre-law student at the University of Virginia, Shadyac produced a poster entitled "Are You a Preppie?" Borrowing from the style of National Lampoon and from the fact that preppies were in strong supply in Charlottesville and nearby Richmond, Virginia, the poster preceded the more famous The Official Preppy Handbook. The poster went into multiple printings and served as a fund-raiser for his fraternity, Sigma Chi.

He graduated from UVA in 1981, and later from UCLA Film School.

Shadyac married actress Jennifer Barker in June 1997; they subsequently divorced.[4]

In 2007 Shadyac suffered post-concussion syndrome after a bicycle accident in Virginia,[5] experiencing months of acute headaches and hyper-sensitivity to light and noise. The injury followed the cumulative effects of previous mild head injuries Shadyac had suffered surfing, mountain biking and playing basketball.[5] He subsequently gave away his excess fortune (e.g., opening a homeless shelter in Charlottesville, Virginia[4] and making a key donation to Telluride, Colorado's effort to set aside a natural area at the town's entrance), reoriented and simplified his life, sold his 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) Los Angeles mansion[5] and moved into a trailer park – albeit the exclusive Paradise Cove park in Malibu.[6]

He later began work on the documentary I Am – which explores his personal journey, "the nature of humanity"[4] and "world's ever-growing addiction to materialism."[5] In 2013 he published a book entitled "Life's Operating Manual"[7] and began promoting the book such as by appearing on HBO's live broadcast show Real Time with Bill Maher.[8] He tweeted using @TomShadyac[9] and posted to his facebook page[10] live during the broadcast.


Shadyac moved to Los Angeles in 1983 and, at age 24, become the youngest staff joke writer ever for comedian Bob Hope. His father, Richard C. Shadyac, Sr., a Washington D.C. attorney, was a long time friend of comedian, actor and TV producer Danny Thomas. Thomas's charity and lifelong efforts were aimed at the founding and development of St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. The elder Shadyac served in many capacities relative to the hospital and served as CEO of St. Jude's fundraising arm, ALSAC, from 1992 to present.

Tom Shadyac had a brief acting career, appearing in an episode of Magnum, P.I. and in the 1987 film, Jocks. Also received his master's degree in film from UCLA in 1989 after completing the critically acclaimed short Tom, Dick and Harry. Subsequently he worked on movies-of-the-week, rewrote and directed for Fox. His hit films with Carrey include Bruce Almighty, Liar Liar, and the Ace Ventura: Pet Detective movie series. He collaborated with Eddie Murphy to write The Nutty Professor movie series. He directed Patch Adams starring Robin Williams and Dragonfly with Kevin Costner. He was also the executive producer to the ABC TV series 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.

He directed Evan Almighty, the sequel to Bruce Almighty. In October 2006, at a Virginia Film Festival event,[11] he conceded that Evan Almighty would end up being the most expensive comedy ever made.

He frequently casts Jim Carrey in lead roles, often collaborates with Steve Oedekerk in working on a film and hires Don Zimmerman as the editor. Former boxer Randall "Tex" Cobb made a cameo in two of Shadyac's movies, Cobb played the "gruff man" in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and he made another cameo in Liar Liar as the bald man who offers Fletcher his jacket back in the opening scene. Steve Carell has also starred in two of Shadyac's films, Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty. Tom Shadyac's production company for films is Shady Acres Entertainment.

In his most recent film, the documentary I Am, Shadyac interviews scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists and philosophers – including Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Lynne McTaggart, Elisabet Sahtouris, Howard Zinn, and Thom Hartmann. The film asks two central questions:[12] What’s Wrong With the World? and What Can We Do About it?. It is about "human connectedness, happiness, and the human spirit."[1] The film received a twenty minute standing ovation at its first screening.[4]


Year Film Director Producer Writer Actor Role Notes
1984 Magnum, P.I.
Danny (Student) TV Show
1987 Jocks
1994 Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
1996 The Nutty Professor
1997 Liar Liar
1998 Patch Adams
2000 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps
2002 Dragonfly
2003 Bruce Almighty
2006 Accepted
2007 I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Evan Almighty
2010 Finding Kind
2011 Happy
I Am
Himself [15]
2012 Full Scale
T.B.A [16]


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • Christianity Today Movies article
  • Make 'Em Laugh Christianity Today Movies article

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