Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes Headshot

Writer • Producer • Director

Birth Date: January 13, 1970

Age: 54 years old

Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois

Storytelling has been in Shonda Rhimes' blood since she was a child growing up with her parents and five siblings in the Chicago, IL suburb of Forest Park South. And that love for the written word and the compelling story would go on to serve her well - not only as a successful feature film writer, but as the creator and executive producer of one of the most popular television series of the new millennium, the medical drama, "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2004- ). The success of that series and its spinoff "Private Practice" (ABC 2007-2013) made Rhimes one of Hollywood's most prominent TV executives, leading to the explosive success of her hit series "Scandal" (ABC 2012-18) and "How To Get Away With Murder" (ABC 2014- ). When those two series and "Grey's Anatomy" constituted the entirety of ABC's Thursday prime time lineup, the network became affectionately dubbed "Shondaland" in some circles.

Born Jan. 13, 1970, Rhimes' mother and father were a university professor and university administrator, respectively, and installed a genuine love for literature in their children. Said affection carried over to her undergraduate studies at Dartmouth College, where she divided her time between fiction and directing and performing in plays.

After college, she relocated to San Francisco, CA with an older sibling and took a job in advertising to pay the bills. But her desire to create overtook her need for financial stability, and she headed for Los Angeles to attend USC and study screenwriting. There, she quickly rose to the top of her class and earned the prestigious Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship Award.

After graduation, she found herself swimming in the teeming pool of unemployed scriptwriters in Hollywood. To make ends meet, she worked at a variety of day jobs, including at a mental health facility. During this period, Rhimes also worked as research director on the Peabody Award-winning documentary, "Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream" (1995), and made her directorial debut in 1998 with the short film, "Blossoms and Veils," starring Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jeffrey Wright.

Luckily for Rhimes, she did not have to wait long to get noticed by the industry. A feature script she wrote was purchased by New Line Cinema, which in turn led to an opportunity to pen an episode of the NBC comedy series "Scrubs" (2001- ). This was soon followed by an assignment to write the acclaimed HBO feature "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" (1999), which earned numerous awards for its star, Halle Berry.

Rhimes followed this film with a theatrical project that could not have been further from Dorothy Dandridge - "Crossroads" (2002) - the movie debut of pop singer Britney Spears. Rhimes survived that film's predicted flameout and moved on to Disney's sequel to its popular "Princess Diaries" (2001). Though "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" (2004) did not score at the box office like its predecessor, Rhimes later said that she treasured the experience if for nothing else - the opportunity to work with its star, Julie Andrews.

Rhimes gave some pause to her career in 2003 after adopting a daughter. While spending time at home with her new child, she found herself hooked on shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (The WB, 1997-2003) and "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007), as well as medical documentary series on The Discovery Channel. She decided to try her hand at creating a television series, but her initial offering - about war correspondents - was turned down, due to the rapidly escalating conflict in Iraq.

After getting wind that ABC was in the market for a medical series, she penned the "Grey's Anatomy" pilot in late 2003, and received the green light to commence with the project in 2004.

"Grey's" debuted in 2005 but found its loyal audience by its second season (2005-06). Pundits who dismissed its ability to lure a broad audience with its romantically inclined storylines and female lead were quickly silenced after the show beat its lead-in, former powerhouse "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012), after the 2006 Super Bowl. A spinoff starring Kate Walsh, "Private Practice" (ABC 2007-2013) was nearly as successful.

But Rhimes' next series, a political and romantic drama starring Kerry Washington as political fixer Olivia Pope, "Scandal" (ABC 2012- ), quickly became appointment television in a way neither of Rhimes' previous series had managed. A rollicking, fast-paced blend of political intrigue, sexual dynamics, and sociological touchstones, "Scandal" immediately became one of TV's most talked-about shows. "How to Get Away With Murder" (ABC 2014- ), which Rhimes produced but did not create, was perhaps even more outrageous, and provided Viola Davis with one of her juiciest roles as law professor Annalise Keating.

Credits

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton StoryStream

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2023
95%

The Jennifer Hudson ShowStream

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2022

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2022
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Inventing AnnaStream

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CBS Mornings

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2021

BridgertonStream

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2020
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Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate NutcrackerStream

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2020

GMA3: What You Need to Know

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2020

Today 3rd Hour

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2018

Admiral BL: Dein Verein

Actor
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2018

The Best of Tavis Smiley

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2018

Station 19Stream

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2018

For the PeopleStream

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2018
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This Changes Everything

Self
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2018

Access

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2017

Still Star-CrossedStream

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2017
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Live with Kelly and Ryan

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2017

Scandal: Gladiator Wanted

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2017

Scandal: Gladiator Wanted

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2017

Today's Take

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2016

The Peabody Awards

Actor
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2016

Celebrity PageStream

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News
2016

The CatchStream

Executive Producer
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2016
74%

Scandal: Cast and Creator Live at PALEYFEST

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2016

Riley and Abella - Beste Freundinnen

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2016

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

Guest
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2015

How to Get Away With MurderStream

Executive Producer
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2014
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Thank God It's Thursday on ABC

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2014

The Writers' RoomStream

Actor
Reality
2013

The Mindy ProjectStream

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2012
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ScandalStream

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2012
93%

ScandalStream

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2012
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Finding Your RootsStream

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2012

Off the Map

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2011

Grey's Anatomy: Cast & Creators Live at the Paley Center

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The Brian McKnight Show

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2009

Private PracticeStream

Executive Producer
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2007

Private PracticeStream

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2007

etalk

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2006

그레이 아나토미

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2005

Grey's AnatomyStream

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2005
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Grey's AnatomyStream

Executive Producer
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2005
84%

Grey's AnatomyStream

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2005
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The Princess Diaries 2: Royal EngagementStream

Writer
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2004
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The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Guest
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2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

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2003

Crossroads

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2002

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge

Writer
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1999

Access HollywoodStream

Guest
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1996

Charlie RoseStream

Guest
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1991

CBS News Sunday MorningStream

Guest
News
1979

Good Morning America

Guest
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1975

News aboutShonda Rhimes

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