Rachel Talalay was born in Chicago Illinois. Her parents, Paul and Prudence, moved to Baltimore to work/teach at Johns Hopkins when she was 4 years old. After studying Applied Mathematics at Yale University, she worked as a computer programmer at Johns Hopkins University. During this time, she met Director John Waters and entered the movie business as a production assistant on his 'Polyester', starring Divine. Here she met Robert Shaye, head of New Line Cinema, and started a long relationship which led to her work on the "Nightmare on Elm Street" films, culminating her relationship with directing "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare". From there she continued her directing career, moving into television, and working on a wide variety of projects from family entertainment "Wind in the Willows" to Horror "Supernatural" to Comedy "Ally McBeal". In 2014 she became the first American and seventh woman to direct "Doctor Who".