Shankman was born in Los Angeles and raised in Brentwood. After attending Juilliard, he dropped out to perform in musical theater and graduated to dancing in videos for artists such as Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul. He won his first professional job behind the scenes in 1989 when the choreographer of a video for rapper MC Shan dropped out; Shankman lied to the director about his experience and was duly hired. Shankman continued to work as a choreographer throughout the 1990s on movies ranging from the family hit "Addams Family Values" (1993) the indie sensation "Boogie Nights" (1997). Shankman began his career as a director in 1998 with a short film, "Cosmo's Tale," which was shown at Sundance. He landed his first feature, "The Wedding Planner" (2001), after helping his sister, producer Jennifer Gibgot, doctor the script.After directing the romantic drama "A Walk To Remember" (2002), Shankman moved back to comedy for "Bringing Down The House" (2003) with Steve Martin, "The Pacifier" (2004) with Vin Diesel, and 2005's "Cheaper By The Dozen 2" which re-united him with Martin. Shankman began his stint as a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance" with the show's third season in 2006, while continuing to work as a producer on a variety of movies including the successful "Step Up" musical franchise."Hairspray" (2007) saw Shankman back on his home turf and proved both a commercial and critical smash. An adaptation of the Broadway hit based on the 1988 film by John Waters, the movie was an ebullient evocation of early 1960s dance crazes, featuring John Travolta (in drag in the role originated by Divine) and Disney teen idol Zac Efron. Shankman returned to comedy for the 2008 Adam Sandler movie "Bedtime Stories," and was one of the producers of "The 82nd Annual Academy Awards" (ABC 2010) for which he choreographed a dance routine. He returned to movie musicals in 2012 with an adaptation of the Broadway rock jukebox hit "Rock Of Ages," which was met with mixed reviews and disappointing box-office. He continued to work as a director on television with episodes of "Glee" while maintaining his role as a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance?"