Shire was born Talia Rose Coppola in Lake Success, New York, the daughter of Italia (née Pennino) and arranger/composer Carmine Coppola. Her brothers are producer and director Francis Ford Coppola and academic August Coppola.
Shire made her acting debut in the 1968 film The Wild Racers. She went on to have a big role as Connie Corleone in The Godfather and its sequels. Later on she starred in another big role in Rocky and its sequels as Adrian Pennino Balboa.