Few of the 21st century class of teen actors enjoyed as meteoric a rise as Shia LaBeouf, who was elevated from kid TV star to bankable movie lead in such Hollywood blockbusters as "Transformers" (2007) and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (2008). Though an Emmy winner for his performance as an excitable grade schooler on the Disney sitcom "Even Stevens" (The Disney Channel, 2000-03), he initially remained a celebrity solely in the eyes of the 'tween' set. However, the quick wit and easy-going charm he displayed in the youth-oriented features "Holes" (2003) and "The Greatest Game Ever Played" (2004) earned him notice from major players like Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay who would both keep an eye on the promising youth. With his high-profile role in the bona fide hit thriller "Disturbia" (2006) LaBeouf proved he could open a movie. He solidified his new A-list status the following year with a starring role in Michael Bay's special effects extravaganza, "Transformers." Only his turn as the Brando-like greaser son of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in the highly anticipated "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" could top that double shot of screen success. Though he made news by running afoul of the law on more than one occasion, LaBeouf transcended his off-screen problems with "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps" (2010) and "Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon" (2011), which maintained his status as Hollywood's star du jour.
Born Shia Saide LaBeouf on June 11, 1986, in Los Angeles, LaBeouf was raised in the working class neighborhood of Echo Park by his mother, Shayna Saide, whose own father worked as a comedian in the Borscht Belt. His father, Jeffrey, was a Vietnam veteran and jack-of-all-trades who divorced Saide while struggling with drug addiction, leaving her to support their son by selling fabrics and jewelry. In later years, LaBeouf would reconcile with his eccentric father and even provide shelter for him in a teepee on land purchased in Montana and, on occasion, in the garage of his Los Angeles home. A precocious child with a talent for spinning outlandish stories at a young age, LaBeouf began performing stand-up at local clubs while still in grade school, all as a means of assisting his cash-strapped family. The acting bug bit harder when LaBeouf saw a friend in an episode of the family series, "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" (CBS, 1993-98), it was a pivotal moment which strengthened his resolve to pursue acting as a means of satisfying both his need to financially help his family and his desire to perform.
According to LaBeouf, he landed an agent by simply picking one from the Yellow Pages, pretending to be an adult while raving about an up-and-coming young talent named "Shia LaBeouf." The ruse clearly worked, as he was signed by the agency at the age of 12, and began making the rounds on network programs like "The X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002) and "Freaks and Geeks" (NBC, 1999-2000). In 2003, he landed the role of Louis Stevens, the manic, nerdy counterpoint to perfect older sister Ren (Christy Carlson Romano) on "Even Stevens." The series was a success with younger viewers and earned LaBeouf excellent notices, as well as a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series for the show's final season in 2003.
LaBeouf reunited with the "Even Stevens" cast for a Disney Channel original movie, "The Even Stevens Movie" (2003), before making the jump to theatrical features, starting with Disney's adaptation of the popular young adult book "Holes" (2003). As Stanley Yelnats, the son of a family of New York eccentrics who finds himself incarcerated at a hard labor camp for young criminal offenders, LaBeouf brought both his comic chops and an effortless knack for drama, which allowed him to shine in a cast populated by heavyweights like Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and Tim Blake Nelson. "Holes" earned LaBeouf critical praise as well as the inevitable "performer-to-watch" buzz. For his performance in that film, LaBeouf netted an MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Male Performer. LaBeouf's other big screen adventures in 2003 were somewhat less noteworthy; he had a cameo in the noisy "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and took the lead in "The Battle of Shaker Heights," the second film to come from the dire "Project Greenlight" (HBO, 2001-03/Bravo, 2004-05; HBO, 2015) reality series. LaBeouf's raw frustration with the ill-prepared directors of "Shaker Heights" and its hot-wired producers was the sole highlight of the show's second season.
The year 2005 saw LaBeouf back in the Disney fold for the historical drama "The Greatest Game Ever Played," in which he played a real-life golf prodigy who squares off against the game's top player in the 1913 U.S. Open. Few theatergoers saw his subdued performance, but it did help solidify the notion that LaBeouf could carry a film. That same year, LaBeouf made another canny career move that helped entrench him in Hollywood's mind, following a small role in the Will Smith big-budget sci-fi film, "I, Robot." Following these movies, LaBeouf divided his time between major studio productions and smaller, independent projects. He played the wisecracking chauffeur to Keanu Reeves' supernatural detective in "Constantine, then lent his voice to the English-language dub of "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" (2005), an anime feature popular with devotees of the genre. He also made his directorial debut alongside Lorenzo Eduardo that year with the experimental short, "Let's Love Hate," which addressed racial intolerance. The film netted several awards at regional festivals.
In 2006, LaBeouf risked much and bared all as a waiter who strips nude during an LSD experience in Emilio Estevez's pet project, "Bobby," which chronicled the lives of various Robert Kennedy supports at the Ambassador Hotel on the night of his 1968 assassination. As part of the A-list cast, LaBeouf shared a Screen Actors' Guild nomination with the sizable all-star lineup. Although they did not win that award, LaBeouf would go on to win the Special Jury Prize with his cast mates for "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" (2006), a gritty true-life drama about growing up in 1980s New York. Though neither film was a box-office success, they further bolstered LaBeouf's profile as a young actor with mature skills and interests.
LaBeouf remained strictly on the Hollywood side of the movie fence for much of 2007. He took the lead in "Disturbia," a youth-oriented thriller inspired by "Rear Window" (1954), then voiced a hot-dogging penguin who surfed in the animated feature "Surf's Up." LaBeouf also signed on as one of the few human performers in Michael Bay's summer offering, "Transformers." The young actor received a major career boost when he was cast to play Mutt Williams, son of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Marion (Karen Allen), in the much-anticipated, but ultimately disappointing "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (2008). Despite making over $300 million at the box office, the fourth installment to the series was criticized for a weak plot and over-excessive CGI-graphics.
Just months after "Crystal Skull" was released, LaBeouf was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after his pick-up truck collided with another vehicle at 3 a.m. in West Hollywood, CA. The actor was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries to his knee and hand, as well as a minor head injury. Though the arresting officers detected alcohol on his breath and obvious signs of intoxication, LaBeouf was not formally charged. Police later revealed that the other driver caused the accident by ignoring a red light and was subject to arrest. In the car with LeBeouf was actress Isabel Lucas, who was set to co-star with him in the action sequel, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009), where his character, Sam, joins Optimus Prime in battling the Decepticons while learning the truth behind the ancient origins of the Transformers. He followed that with another high-profile effort, "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps" (2010), Oliver Stone's disappointing follow up to "Wall Street" (1987), which was notable only for the resurgence of everybody's favorite greed-ridden corporate raider, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). LaBeouf played the distrustful fiancé to Gekko's estranged daughter (Carey Mulligan). During filming, he began to romance his co-star, Hollywood newcomer Mulligan. The couple broke up after over a year of dating. Following the middling success of "Wall Street," LaBeouf returned to familiar territory with the third installment, "Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon" (2011) which, not surprisingly, was a hit at the box-office.
LaBeouf continued his quest to be taken seriously as an actor with a well-received role opposite Robert Redford in the drama "The Company You Keep" (2012) and in John Hillcoat's stylish Prohibition-era period piece "Lawless," penned by rocker Nick Cave based on the novel The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant. He next acted opposite Charlotte Gainsbourg in Lars Von Trier's controversial "Nymphomaniac" (2013), but an unrelated scandal threatened to derail LeBeouf's entire career. After the actor's own short film "HowardCantour.com" (2013) was released online, viewers quickly noticed that the film was based, without credit, on a story by graphic artist Daniel Clowes called "Justin M. Damiano." After what seemed like a sincerely apologetic tweet to Clowes and his fans, LeBeouf curiously began releasing other apologies that were cribbed from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, British politician Nick Clegg and Lars Von Trier. On January 1, 2014, LeBeouf hired a skywriter to write the phrase "I Am Sorry Daniel Clowes" in the sky above Los Angeles. After evidence of other instances of plagiarism were revealed -- the actor had released a graphic novel of his own, Stale N Mate, that allegedly lifted passages from Benoit Dutuertre's novel The Little Girl and the Cigarette -- LeBeouf tweeted "In light of the recent attacks against my artistic integrity, I am retiring from all public life" on January 10, 2014.
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made acting debut in feature "Breakfast with Einstein"
Landed breakout role on award-winning Disney Channel series "Even Stevens"
Co-starred in family drama "Tru Confessions" (Disney Channel)
Starred in "The Battle of Shaker Heights," produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
Cast as Bosley's protégée in action sequel "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle"
Made feature starring debut in "Holes," based on bestselling book by Louis Sacher
Featured opposite Will Smith in sci-fi thriller "I, Robot"
Portrayed real-life amateur golfer Francis Ouimet who defeated British champion Vardon at 1913 U.S. Open in "The Greatest Game Ever Played"
Starred opposite Keanu Reeves in "Constantine," the supernatural thriller based on DC/Vertigo comic book <i>Hellblazer</i>
Played a young Robert Downey Jr. in coming-of-age drama "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints"
Co-starred in Emilio Estevez's directorial debut "Bobby," an ensemble centered around night of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination
Starred in thriller "Disturbia," a high-tech teen update of "Rear Window" (1954)
Played Sam Witwicky, a brainy teen charged with saving the world from impending robo-calypse in director Michael Bay's "Transformers"
Co-starred with Michelle Monaghan in thriller "Eagle Eye"
Cast as Indy's (Harrison Ford) son in fourth installment of adventure series "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
Re-teamed with director Michael Bay to reprise role of Sam Witwicky in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
Joined ensemble cast in romantic anthology "New York, I Love You"
Played a young ambitious trader opposite Michael Douglas in Oliver Stone directed sequel "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"
Re-teamed with director Michael Bay for "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
Co-starred with Tom Hardy and Guy Pearce in Prohibition-era Western "Lawless"
Cast opposite director Robert Redford and "New York, I Love You" co-star Julie Christie in thriller "The Company You Keep"
Had the starring role in "Charlie Countryman"
Played Jerôme in Lars Von Trier's risque, two-part sex drama "Nymphomaniac"
Starred in the military drama "Man Down"
Starred in the road-trip drama "American Honey"
Played tennis bad boy John McEnroe, opposite Sverrir Gudnason's Björn Borg, in the biodrama "Borg vs McEnroe"