Elisabeth Shue was born in Delaware but raised in the affluent suburbs of New Jersey due to the success of her parents, both of whom were high-ranking executives within their respective companies. She and her three brothers were mischievous, often getting into trouble while her parents worked long hours. Her parents divorced when she was a young girl, an event that had a profound effect on her life.Education was always important to the Shue family, so Elisabeth enrolled at Wellesley College after high school. During high school, she tried to figure out ways to earn some extra spending cash and happened upon acting. She quickly realized that her good looks and megawatt smile could get her cast in commercials, so she started auditioning. This side job continued while she attended college. She quickly became a success, starring in commercials for such brands as Hellman’s mayonnaise, DeBeers diamonds, and Burger King, among others.She enjoyed the extra money but especially loved acting and wanted to do more. By this time, she had transferred from Wellesley to Harvard University, where she was stricken in earnest by a desire to act. Wishing to branch out beyond commercials, she realized she would have to leave college to pursue a full-time acting career. She made the decision to drop out of Harvard, leaving one semester shy of earning a degree in political science.Most people who move to Hollywood to try acting end up toiling for months or even years before they stumble upon anything resembling a big break. This was not the case for Shue, who was an almost immediate success. In fact, she turned down the first big role offered to her in a major film, that of Deborah Gelly in “Once Upon a Time in America.” Instead, her first major role on the big screen was as Ali Mills, a popular cheerleader and love interest for Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) in “The Karate Kid.” The film was a huge hit, making stars out of both Macchio and Shue.The same year, she also starred in a failed television series, “Call to Glory,” co-starring Craig T. Nelson. Though the series only ran 23 episodes, she was not deterred by the cancellation of the show. Instead, she continued to audition, landing a role opposite Terence Stamp in “Link” in 1986. The next year would see Shue land her first headlining role as Chris in “Adventures in Babysitting.”The film was a surprise hit, even at a time when teenage films such as “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club” were all the rage. Part of what set it apart was the charm of Shue, whose career really took off afterwards. She subsequently landed a role in “Cocktail” in 1988, which co-starred Tom Cruise, who was at the height of his popularity after “Risky Business” and “Top Gun.” She also had roles in “The Marrying Man” and “Soapdish,” among others.The 1990s brought a lot of change for Shue. She married film director Davis Guggenheim, and the couple had three children together, the oldest of which is named after her brother William who died in a tragic swimming accident in 1988. During the 90s, Shue also went back to Harvard, where she finally earned her political science degree. She also branched out into theater acting and decided to take on roles darker than those she had previously pursued.One of those darker roles was as a prostitute in the superb 1995 film “Leaving Las Vegas” starring Nicolas Cage. She received rave reviews for her portrayal of Sera, who tries to save Cage’s character Ben Sanderson from his boozing, self-destructive ways. The film was nominated for four Oscars, including a nod for Shue in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category. Though she ultimately lost, Cage won Best Actor in a Leading Role.Since then, Shue has balanced motherhood and movies while also taking on some television roles. In 2012, she became a midseason addition to the long-running CBS crime drama “CSI.” She added new life to the show, which was on the brink of cancellation before she and Ted Danson joined the cast. It was renewed for a 13th season, making Shue a series regular.Not content with just starring in a television series, Shue continues to act during the show’s hiatuses. In 2012, she can be seen in the thriller “The House at the End of the Street” as well as in “Chasing Mavericks.” Expect to see her in more film roles in 2013 and beyond as she enters a new phase of her long, successful career.