Shyer grew up in the film industry where his father, Melville Shyer, worked with D.W. Griffith and was one of the founders of the Directors Guild of America. After attending UCLA, he was accepted into the DGA's apprenticeship program, which led to work as an Assistant Director.
But Shyer caught the writing bug and went to work as an assistant to Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson, producers of the TV series The Odd Couple. He eventually worked his way up to Head Writer on the hit series.
After "The Odd Couple", he moved into feature films, getting his first writing credit on Burt Reynolds mega-smash "Smokey and the Bandit" (1977). The following year, Shyer co-wrote "Goin' South" (directed by and starring Jack Nicholson) and received his first Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Screenplay for the Walter Matthau/Glenda Jackson hit "House Calls" (1978).
In 1979, Shyer teamed up with Nancy Meyers to write Private Benjamin, which the team also produced. Contrary to the conventional wisdom at the time, that a female lead with no male star was box office poison, this story of a pampered young woman who joins the Army was a huge hit, grossing in excess of a hundred million dollars worldwide. The screenplay for "Private Benjamin" won Meyers and Shyer a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for an Academy Award in that same category. The films' stars Goldie Hawn and Eileen Brennan were also both nominated for Oscars. The film was also nominated for multiple Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress.
Shyer's next project, "Irreconcilable Differences", marked Shyer's directorial debut. Shelley Long and Ryan O'Neal played a Hollywood couple whose obsession with success destroys their relationship with their daughter, played by eight-year-old Drew Barrymore. Critics praised the film's even-handed treatment of both main characters and its sensitive updating of'30's comedy style. "Irreconcilable Differences" received multiple Golden Globe nominations, including Best Actress nods for Shelley Long and Drew Barrymore.
Like "Private Benjamin", "Baby Boom" dealt with the role of women in a changing, feminist-influenced world, all in the form of a romantic comedy. Diane Keaton played J.C. Wiatt, a high-powered executive who unexpectedly finds herself saddled with a baby. Like Rosalind Russell's Hildy Johnson in "His Girl Friday", the Wiatt character became a film prototype of the contemporary career woman. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy; and Keaton was also nominated as Best Actress in the same division.
In 1991, Meyers and Shyer, working from earlier material for the first time, remade the 1950 Vincente Minnelli classic "Father of the Bride" (with Shyer directing). Without drastically changing the emotional core, they deftly updated the film's view of marriage, finding the story's unchanging, universal elements. Steve Martin won acclaim for his performance of a father "losing" his daughter and his bank account at the same time. Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams, and Martin Short were also singled out for praise for their performances in a film that went on to become a huge worldwide hit.
Meyers and Shyer went on the write, produce, and direct Father of the Bride Part II, a sequel to their 1991 hit, with all the principal players returning. Touchstone Pictures' major attraction for the 1995 Christmas season, Father of the Bride, Part II opened number one at the box office and went on to gross in excess of $100 million worldwide.
In 1997, Shyer co-wrote and produced the Meyers-directed remake of The Parent Trap. Acclaimed for its humorous and stylish updating of the classic the Disney film, The Parent Trap became another instant worldwide hit for the team.
Shyer next tackled a period drama, "The Affair of the Necklace" ("L'Affaire du Collier"), starring Hilary Swank, Adrien Brody and Simon Baker. With lush cinematography, costumes and settings in the Czech Republic and France, the film garnered not only splendid notices, but an Academy-Award nomination for costume designer, Milena Canonero.
Shyer's next project is directing and executive producing Eloise in Paris, for HandMade Films, based on the classic 1950s children's book. He will also write the screenplay with Larry Spencer and his daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer. The film will shoot in London, Paris and New York, and production will begin next year. Also upcoming for Shyer is Sweet Little Fifteen for Fox Searchlight, which he will direct and co-write, also with Spencer.
Shyer resides in Los Angeles as of July 2007. He was married to fellow writer/producer/director Nancy Meyers in 1980. They separated in 1999. They have two daughters, Annie Meyers-Shyer and Hallie Meyers-Shyer, both of whom have had minor roles in their films. He married Deborah Lynn in 2004. They have two children. (SOURCE: IMDB)