Adam Shankman

Adam Shankman Biography

Adam Michael Shankman (born November 27, 1964) is an American film director, producer, dancer, actor, and choreographer. He has been a judge on the television program So You Think You Can Dance since Season 3. He began his professional career in musical theater, and was a dancer in music videos for Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson. Shankman has choreographed numerous films as well as one of the Spice Girls' tours. He has directed several feature-length films, including A Walk to Remember, Bringing Down the House, and the 2007 remake of Hairspray.

Early life

Shankman was born in Los Angeles, California, to an upper middle class family. He has said that he had a "traditional Jewish upbringing" in Brentwood. He attended The Juilliard School, but dropped out to dance in musical theater.


Shankman was a dancer in Janet Jackson's "Amazing" video, as well as in a MC Skat Kat video with Paula Abdul. Shankman broke into professional choreography in a 1989 music video for rapper MC Shan with director Julien Temple. When the hired choreographer fell through, Shankman lied and said that he had done choreography for Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul. He was hired on the spot without his story being verified. Shankman began choreographing movies that included actors such as Marlon Brando, Sarah Jessica Parker, Antonio Banderas, and the cast of Boogie Nights. He is Brendan Fraser's exclusive choreographer.

In 1996, Shankman was represented by the newly formed Sauce Entertainment, a production company for music videos and commercial production. In 1998, he was a choreographer for the program Win Ben Stein's Money.

Shankman's first directing gig was for a short film called Cosmo's Tale, which appeared at the Sundance Film Festival. He then helped his sister, Jennifer Gibgot, on a script, which led to a meeting with the studio producing The Wedding Planner. He was hired for the job ten minutes into the meeting. In May 2003, Shankman filed a $5 million lawsuit against Jennifer Lopez, asserting that he came up with the idea for her adaptation of the opera Carmen.

Prior to directing Hairspray, Shankman was known in Hollywood primarily as a script doctor. His trademarks in his films often features a singing/dancing sequence and a character getting sent to do community service. "I've done so many things I'm not super-proud of," he admitted in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. Having finally received a plum directing role in Hairspray, he added, "Now that I'm finally really proud of something, if [critics] say this one isn't good either, it will be kind of...taxing." In August 2008, Box office Mojo reported that Hairspray had become the fourth-largest grossing American movie musical within the previous 30 years.

Shankman, in affiliation with ABC, worked on a TV pilot called Harmony about a musical town. In 2008, in the wake of former small-town mayor Sarah Palin's emergence on the national political stage, Shankman was announced as director for the proposed TV series Cadillac Ranch about the female mayor of a small town. He directed the 2012 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages for New Line Cinema. With Bill Mechanic, Shankman was one of the two producers of the 82nd Academy Awards, which took place March 7, 2010.

Shankman has also directed and choreographed multiple episodes of Fox's Glee.

So You Think You Can Dance

Shankman has been a judge and choreographer on the FOX reality show So You Think You Can Dance since the third season. He used the term "lyrical hip-hop" to describe the dance style associated with the choreography duo of Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo. The term is popularly credited to him as reported in the May/June 2009 issue of Dance Spirit magazine.

On September 16, 2009, it was announced that Adam will be a permanent judge on So You Think You Can Dance.

Personal life

Shankman is openly gay. He officiated the wedding of actors Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar, a good friend of his with whom he worked while choreographing Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He got the Buffy job based on Sarah's recommendation to the show's creator, Joss Whedon.


Film and television

Year Film Credited as Role/Notes/References
Director Producer Choreographer Actor Other
1983 The Wind in the Willows Washerwoman
The Red Shoes Shoe shoppe customer
1990 Rockula Driver
Midnight Cabaret Waiter
1992 The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag Timid man
1993 Weekend at Bernie's II
Heart and Souls credited as Adam Schenkman
Addams Family Values
1994 The Flintstones
Milk Money
Don Juan DeMarco
1995 Monster Mash: The Movie Wolfie
Miami Rhapsody
Tank Girl
Casper animation department; animated ghost sequences
1996 Mrs. Winterbourne
1997 The Relic
Friends "The One with All the Jealousy"
George of the Jungle
Boogie Nights
A Life Less Ordinary
Anastasia credited as Adam M. Shankman
Scream 2 Ghost dancer
1998 Almost Heroes
1999 She's All That
Blast from the Past
Forces of Nature
The Out-of-Towners
Inspector Gadget Physical comedy consultant
Dudley Do-Right
Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
2000 Isn't She Great
Mission to Mars credited as Adam M. Shankman
2001 The Wedding Planner
Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Once More, with Feeling"
2002 A Walk to Remember Executive soundtrack producer; role: uncredited medical assistant
Monk "Mr. Monk and the Earthquake"
Catch Me If You Can
2003 Bringing Down the House
Stuck on You Waiter
2004 Mystery Girl television film
2005 The Pacifier uncredited driving instructor
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 Clam bake chef
2006 Step Up Nightclub dancer
Worst Week of My Life television series
2007 Premonition
Hairspray William Morris Talent agent; performer "Tied Up in the Knots of Sin"
2008 Step Up 2: The Streets
Bedtime Stories
2009 17 Again
Zac Efron's Pool Party
Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special
2010 The 82nd Annual Academy Awards
The Last Song
Step Up 3D
Going the Distance
Coming Attraction
Glee "The Rocky Horror Glee Show"
2011 "Pot o' Gold"
Modern Family "Our Children, Ourselves"
2012 Rock of Ages


  • Prop 8 - The Musical (2008) - Director/producer/choreographer
  • Bye, Bye Birdie (2011) - Director

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Adam_Shankman" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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