Interview by Paul Salfen
In 1994, Lin Shaye had her breakout comedy role of Mrs. Nuegeboren in the Farrelly Brothers’ Dumb and Dumber. The film was released on December 16, 1994. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, it was a commercial success and developed a cult following in the years since its release. The Farrellys then subsequently cast her as Woody Harrelson’s gruesome landlady in Kingpin. Next they gave her a role as Cameron Diaz’s character’s overtanned neighbor Magda in the 1998 hit There’s Something About Mary. The Farrellys said, ‘We want her to look like an old leather bag,’ ” recalled Shaye. “It was four hours every time they put on the makeup.” The film was a sleeper hit, and was the highest-grossing comedy of 1998 in North America as well as the fourth-highest-grossing film of the year. For her performance, Shaye was nominated for a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress – Comedy. She followed this with 1999’s Detroit Rock City as an uptight mother waging a personal war against the band Kiss.