As ancient, leather-skinned Magda in There’s Something About Mary, Lin Shaye knew she was licked when she locked lips with her costar. No, she hadn’t fallen for Ben Stiller or Matt Dillon; the manic kisser was Puffy, Magda’s Border terrier. “I could barely get the dog off me,” says Shaye.
Despite the special time that they spent together, even Puffy probably wouldn’t recognize Shaye, an attractive mom and actress. (No, those aren’t her real breasts in that startling Mary topless scene.) But when the pooch smooched, Shaye was ready. Recalls Mary star Cameron Diaz: “It was one of the funniest and most disgusting and disturbing things I’ve ever seen.”
Shaye, 54, has been playing wackos ever since Peter and Bobby Farrelly, who codirected Mary, cast her as a poodle-haired dog owner in 1994’s Dumb and Dumber. She came recommended by New Line Cinema chairman Bob Shaye, Lin’s brother.
Born in Detroit to Max, 87 and a painter, and Dorothy, a homemaker who died in 1989, Shaye acted at the University of Michigan. Tragedy struck in 1973, when her husband of one year died. At loose ends, she moved to New York City and performed Off-Broadway before heading in 1977 to L.A., where she now lives with second husband Clayton Landey, 47, an actor, and son Lee J, 9. She hopes for some normal roles, but she’ll always take the call when the Farrellys need someone gross or grosser. “I hope,” she says, “they never do a movie without me.”