Brooke Shields achieved early fame as a child actress, and by her teens was one of the most photographed and recognized models in the world. She attended Princeton University from 1983 to 1987, graduating with a degree in French literature.
She gained a very early start as she was a favorite as a child with the top fashion photographers in New York city at the time, not the least of which was the late Scavullo. Garry Gross, who later got sued by both Brooke and her mother over a lengthy battle for the copyright of these photographs, shot a famous series of photographs (one, that was auctioned at Christie's sold for near 1,000,000 USD) involving a very nude and explicit Brooke in heavy make-up when she was 10. It was this series which would lead to her film career as the French director Louis Malle would later see them and cast her for his film.
Shields' career really started then among much ballyhoo over her appearance in Malle's Pretty Baby, a movie in which she played a child living in a brothel (and in which there were numerous nude scenes). Because she was only 12 when the film was released, and possibly 11 when it was filmed, questions were raised about child pornography. This was followed by a slightly less controversial, but also less notable film, Wanda Nevada.
She also appeared in provocative, controversial ads for Calvin Klein jeans in 1980, when she was 15 years old. The ads included the famous tagline, "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins."
After two decades of movies, her best-known films are still arguably The Blue Lagoon (1980) (which included more nude scenes, but Shields later testified before a U.S. Congressional inquiry that older body doubles were used in some of them), and Endless Love (1981), both made near the beginning of her career.
Shields, who developed a strong sense of comic timing as her acting career advanced into adulthood, has played in a number of television productions, the most successful being the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan, in which she starred from 1996 until 2000.
She won the People's Choice Award in the category of Favorite Young Performer in four consecutive years from 1981 to 1984 and more than a decade later she won again in the category of Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series in 1997.
Beginning with undergraduate appearances in the Princeton University Triangle Show, Shields has appeared in many on-stage productions, mostly musical revivals, including Grease and Wonderful Town on Broadway, the latter of which closed in 2005 to favorable reviews. That year she made her London stage debut in the musical Chicago.
It is widely reported that Shields' legs are insured by Lloyd's of London