Shirly (pronounced – Sheer- Lee) Brener is already a known celebrity in her homeland. Born in Haifa and raised in London and Los Angeles. This modern day Renaissance woman has a diverse career as an actress, producer, business development entrepreneur as well as ventures as TV Host, art historian, writer and philanthropist.
Her breakthrough role came opposite Henry Thomas in the comedy Highjacking Hollywood and since then she has been compared to a young Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan or Goldie Hawn, Brener embodies the essence of a Hollywood IT girl with her talent, business savvy, charm, humor, edge and confidence.
Since 2005 has completed over 35 projects booking job after job and traveling the US and the world working alongside great actors and directors. She is known to be wide ranged from a romantic lead to an accented (Shirlyhas an ability to do many dialects and accents) hooker or drug addic. She is also known for her versatility in playing women with psychological and emotional issues (a far cry from who she really is). It's actually her outgoing personality, sense of humor and a super professional attitude on the set and approach has some of the creative teams hiring her over again.
Those include, on location in Connecticut, acting in the much anticipated Jon Avnet (Fried Green Tomatoes) cop drama, Righteous Kill, starring no less than- Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. The film was released by Overture Films. Other roles include but are not limited to: Labor Pains for ABC Family opposite Lindsay Lohan, Streets of Blood opposite Sharon Stone and Val Kilmer, War Inc, playing John Cusack’s wife and also starring Academy award winners Ben Kingsley and Marisa Tomei -shot on location in Eastern Europe and produced by New Crime Productions (High Fidelity). Shirly , who is described by her friends as a hilarious Type A, is showing her funny side and romantic comedy appeal in films like Bill starring Jessica Alba and Aaron Eckhart, produced by GreenStreet Films ( In the Bedroom), Employee of the Month with Jessica Simpson, Dane Cook and Andy Dick, directed by Greg Coolidge, produced by Tapestry Films (Wedding Crashers) and LionsGate. Very anticipated are the indies Hit List opposite Joey Lawrence which premiered in the Tel Aviv Cinematheque -international distribution by New Films International (Hannibal , Resident Evil) , Touched and Letting Go (also starring Bokeem Wodbine and Christopher Knight). In all three, Shirly is the female lead playing very complex characters. For all three, Shirly has been getting some real buzz regarding her layered, mature, and interesting performances. She just completed the Lead opposite Eduard Furlong (Terminator) in the supernatural thriller- STITCH. In it she plays another disturbed girl and gives a haunting performance. The film is awaiting distribution
On TV Shirly can be seen in Spike TV’s JUDGEMENT DAY playing the role of Ms. Taylor. She is also credited for her role of Mrs. Bowers in the Sci Fi Channel original made for TV film THE DUNWICH HORROR, alongside Dean Stockwell. . Recently she also guest starred on CRIMINAL MINDS on CBS. In 2010 Shirly started her stint as a series regular on the new webisode The MONICA 90404 (a funny spoof on TV teen dramas). And in 2011 in the whacky comedy series The MONDAYS. Shirly Bruce and their 2 girls have recently signed on as the newest cast of the award winning #1 highest rated show for HOT network (Israel)- the DocuSeries "CONNECTED"- they are currently filming - season will premiere Fall 2013.
Always an over achiever, a strait A student with Honors and AP courses in highschool- Securing a path in higher education as well, Shirly graduated with honors- on the Dean’s List- from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor degree in Art History and Film Critical Studies. She then got accepted to the Masters of Business Administration program at Pepperdine University. While in school, Shirly never let her acting ambitions down, and managed book and shoot in such films as The Gray Zone, directed by Tim Blake Nelson opposite Mira Sorvino and Harvey Kietel, by Killer Films and LionsGate, Blind Horizon starring Val Kilmer, Sam Shepard and Faye Danway (was in the official selection of South by Southwest) and Shadow of Fear opposite James Spader and Aidan Quinn.
Other projects she completed were the Weinstein Co. The Killing Grounds (aka Children of Wax) as a Lead opposite Armand Assante and Udo Kier playing a German Neo Nazi girl, directed by European award winning Ivan Nichev and produced by legendary producer Menahem Golan, and a supporting role in the Steven Seagal film Mercenary for Justice, playing a field reporter in an action filled film.
Not leaving her passion for theater behind, recently with sketch comedy and improv Shirly starred and played over 15 characters in The All American Family Variety Hour- which she also co-wrote which ran on the famous Second City Stage in Hollywood. Another edgy supporting role in the play – “Eccentric”, at the RipRap Theater in NoHo, which won rave reviews (pick of the week) and was nominated for an LA WEEKLY Award.
Her career began at age 2 doing commercials for Merci Chocolate in both France and Germany, at 15 she was accepted to the prestigious theatrical performing arts department of Beverly Hills High School acting in such productions as “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” and “The Pirates of Penzance”. She later went on to act in local community and college theater with leading roles in “The Heidi Chronicles” and “It Had to be You”.
Juggling a career in 2 continents, she became an overnight success with a series regular on the Israeli smash Nighttime DramaSoap hit Ramat Aviv (much like The OC), the host of the popular MTV- Singled Out and a supporting-lead in the Israeli Academy Award winner film- Mr. Baum. Stardom became synonymous to Brener and she recurred on shows, did Guest Stars, hosted a variety of shows and her name and face were used for product endorsements such as “Burger King”, the “Milk Company”, “Planet Hollywood” and others.
Maintaining her career abroad, she regularly hosted shows and does entertainment news reporting for E! Entertainment and Y BE 10(like Access Hollywood). She recently acted in acclaimed director – Haim Bouzaglo’s crime drama KAVOD (Honor). As an undercover cop trying to bring the head of the mob down. Hosted/MC Living in LA LA LAND and Guest Starred on the critically acclaimed drama series “2.3 Per Week”.
Producing films has always been a sought after pursuit, Shirly was able to put together her first full length feature film – the psychological suspense thriller- Session, starring Steven Bauer (ScarFace, Traffic) . She also acts in the film. Shirly signed a multiple year development deal with Radar Pictures (The Last Samurai, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Runaway Bride, All About Steve, Chronicles of Riddick) as a VP of Business Development. Under which she produced movies with the company. And learned from Ted Field one of the greatest icons in films producing history (Revenge of the Nerds, Cocktail...and many others). She also recently produced The Chicago 8 starring Danny Masterson, Gary Cole, and Phillip Baker Hall, the film won “Best Picture” at Tyler Perry’s Atlanta PeachTree Festival and "Best Feature" at the Beverly Hills Film Festival. Currently she has 3 other features set up and in pre prod- Everyone Wants the Kush (also written by Bruce Rubenstein) , Asleep at the Wheel (directed by Billy Chartoff /Rocky Balboa) starring Donald Sutherland and Rosie Perez, Blood Hostage (directed by acclaimed action director Isaac Florentine). Before which she Exec produced the short –Shoot starring Jonathan Silverman and Nikky Six and 2 personal documentary films both of which she produced, directed, wrote, shot and co-edited. One about her father (a famous sport figure and biz figure) - Danny the Golden Fish and another about abstract expressionist LA based artist (her hubby) - Bruce Rubenstein. Shirly has numerous other projects in development both TV and Film, reality shows, kids shows and many other properties. Learn more about Shirly's work as a producer here.
Brener is an alumni of the prestigious Beverly Hills Playhouse (she calls it the LA version of the legendary “Actor’s Studio” in NY) under the renowned late- Milton Katselas. After Milton’s passing, she continued to The Richard Lawson Studios (RL is a direct desciple of Milton) She is also a Conservatory member and Alumni of Second City, at the training center in Los Angeles- the famed improv/sketch comedy school, where she performs on their stage with her group.
Her writing was featured in a monthly column in Shavua Israeli (Israeli Week) in LA, which is titled:”Café Latte withShirly Brener”, in which she wrote about her life, fashion, entertainment, being a Mom and Wife etc. She also writes poetry both in Hebrew and English, which she hopes to publish some day. Shirly has written numerous Art Catalogues and Art Critical Essays, mainly for her hubby- artist Bruce Rubenstien.
In 2012 Rubenstein and Brener opened the BRUCE RUBENSTEIN ART GALLERY in Studio City California and ran it togehter.
Shirly loves her supportive family and friends and is always deeply committed and dedicated to them as well as helping them and other people around her.
She has added charity and volunteer work to her always fully loaded schedule. Her work in organizations such as Narconon, Gan Hayeled, Yad Beyad, The Young StoryTellers, Reading Writing Its Exciting, The Haifa Foundation and Living Beauty are a testament to her giving nature.
Always on the go, Brener is an avid athlete and adventurous sports aficionado, she practices Bikram Yoga several times weekly is a snow- skiing junkie as well as, water skiing and wind surfing as well as hiking, tennis etc.
In her downtime she enjoys traveling to exotic locals such as Africa, Greece, Bulgaria, Jamaica as well as frequenting art exhibitions and museums around the world. She loves cooking creative recipes for her always welcomed family and guests while compiling ideas for a future cookbook
Shirly currently resides with her husband, Artist, Designer and Screenwriter (BULLET- starring Mickey Rourke and Adrien Brody) & Exec Producer (DICE INDUSTRUCTIBLE -Showtime )Bruce Rubenstein and their young daughters Mila, 7 a Ford model and an actress herself tarring in campaigns for Gypsy05, Walmart, CVS, Honda, Esprit and as the face of fashion label Saurette, having been in campaigns editorials and ads for publications including Self, Women’s Wear Daily, Fit Pregnancy, JC Penny, Joe's Jeans, Blu Pony and many others who recently starred opposite Frank Langella and Wes Bentley in “A Time Being” and also wrapped the lead opposite Bruce Dern in Toby Hooper’s “Coffin Baby” and opposite Lacy Chabert in the LIFETIME TV movie “Imaginary Friend” .Shirly, Bruce and Mila are proud to announce their latest addition baby girl- Journey Elle, who was born in 2012 . Shirly is a super hands on mom who dedicates her life to her daughters and her family. The happy , creative, artistic family lives in the Hollywood Hills in an industrial modern home designed by Rubenstein which was featured in design and architectural magazines.