Shia LaBeouf Biography

Actor, Television Actor, Film Actor (1986–)
Shia LaBeouf is a Hollywood actor known for films that include the Transformers franchise as well as Constantine, Surf's Up and Eagle Eye.


Shia LaBeouf was born on June 11, 1986, in Los Angeles, California, scoring a lead role in the hit Disney series Even Stevens as a teen. He eventually pursued a film career, landing the part of Sam Witwicky in the blockbuster Transformers series. Other film roles have included Constantine, Disturbia, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Eagle Eye, as well as the animated Surf's Up.

Early Life

Actor. Born June 11, 1986, in Los Angeles, California. In recent years, Shia LaBeouf has emerged as one of the leading young actors working today. Raised in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park, he started performing in a street act with his parents when he was a toddler. His father Jeffrey was a professional clown and a Vietnam veteran, and his mother Shayna had been a dancer.

LaBeouf did not have much money growing up, and the family’s financial situation worsened after his father developed a substance abuse problem and left the family for a time. Tired of struggling, LaBeouf met a child actor who received a nice payday from doing a guest spot on a television series. He was then inspired to get into the entertainment industry as a way of improving his situation.

Around the age of 10, LaBeouf started doing stand-up at a Pasadena comedy club. His routine involved some profanity as well as some jokes that made light of his personal hardships. The next year, LaBeouf decided to get an agent. He found one through the phone book.

Child Star

By 14, LaBeouf had a featured role on a popular children’s comedy series on the Disney Channel. He appeared as Louis Stevens, a junior high school class clown, on Even Stevens, a family comedy that followed the adventures of Louis and his older sister Ren (Christy Carlson Romano). The rest of the family included their older brother Donnie (Nick Spano), their mother Eileen (Donna Pescow), and their father Steve (Tom Virtue). In 2003, LaBeouf won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series for his work on the show.

That same year, LaBeouf had his first taste of big screen success with the film adaptation of Louis Sachar novel Holes. He played Stanley Yelnats, a teenage boy who gets wrongly convicted of theft and sent to a juvenile work camp. Jon Voight, Sigourney Weaver, and Tim Blake Nelson played the authorities at the oddly named facility Camp Green Lake since there was no lake and no greenery. For some mysterious reason, the youthful offenders were forced to dig holes in the surrounding desert. The film proved popular with critics as well as young audiences.

Mainstream Success

Around the same time, LaBeouf had the lead role in the coming-of-age drama, The Battle of Shaker Heights (2003). He also had a small part in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003). Continuing his career in film, LaBeouf landed several supporting roles. He appeared in the sci-fi action drama I, Robot (2004) with Will Smith. The next year, he played Chas, a sidekick to Keanu Reeves’s demon hunter in Constantine (2005).

Taking on a different type of project, LaBeouf had a leading role in the historic sports drama The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005). He played a young golfer who beat his hero at the U.S. Open in 1913. While filming the movie, LaBeouf became romantically involved with one of the producer’s daughters, China Brezner. The couple broke up in 2007.

In A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006), LaBeouf played a younger version of Dito (Robert Downey Jr.). The independent film followed Dito’s difficult teen years in Queens during the mid-1980s, his escape, and his later return to be with his father (Chazz Palminteri).

In 2007, LaBeouf was named “Star of Tomorrow” at the ShoWest convention, an annual event for the National Association of Theatre Owners. A very appropriate award for a young actor who starred in two box office hits that year. LaBeouf first played a troubled teen who gets put under house arrest after assaulting one of his teachers in Disturbia (2007). Inspired in part by Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, the film shows how his character becomes a voyeur and encounters all sorts of trouble from watching his neighbors.

Shia LaBeouf Photo

Shia LaBeouf attends the 'American Honey' Premiere during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 15, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Blockbuster Roles

LaBeouf also starred in a huge summer blockbuster Transformers (2007), which was an adaptation of the popular children’s animated series. In the film, two different groups of shape-shifting robots—the benevolent Autobots and the evil Decepticons—battle it out with humans caught in the middle. LaBeouf played Sam Witwicky, a young man who discovers that his car is actually an Autobot and becomes involved in the robotic conflict. One of the summer’s biggest movies, it took in more than $300 million.

Usually coming across as level-headed in interviews, LaBeouf did something that seemed out of character in November 2007. He was arrested for trespassing after he refused to leave a Chicago drug store. The charges were later dropped.

The next big role for LaBeouf was working with Harrison Ford on the latest installment of the Indiana Jones saga. He told Entertainment Weekly about working on the legendary film series created by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas: “I think my favorite moment was when Harrison flew in and jumped out of his helicopter to come to rehearsal with his whip in his hand.”

In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), LaBeouf plays Mutt Williams, a young man becomes involved in Indiana Jones’s latest adventure. His next film is the thriller Eagle Eye (2008) with Michelle Monaghan, which is slated to be released in the fall of 2008.

Among his upcoming projects, LaBeouf is expected to appear in the sequel Transformers 2.

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