An actress known for her petite stature and fiery, thoughtful performances, Adrienne Shelly first earned plaudits for her work with director Hal Hartley in The Unbelievable Truth (1990) and Trust (1991). Although her subsequent acting career during the '90s went largely undistinguished, Shelly began to make a name for herself as a writer and director, making her feature screenwriting and directorial debut with Sudden Manhattan in 1996.
Born in Queens, NY, in July 1966, Shelly, who is of Russian heritage, was raised on Long Island. Her upbringing was influenced by a love of baseball and the death of her father when she was 12 (his first name, Shelly, became his daughter's professional surname). She began acting at performing arts camp when she was ten years old and got her first professional job in a summer stock production of Annie while still in high school. After studying at Boston University, she entered the world of independent filmmaking.