Shonda Rhimes

Active - 1999 - 2018  |   Born - Jan 13, 1970 in Chicago, Illinois, United States  |   Genres - Comedy Drama

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

The driving creative force behind one of the most successful television medical dramas since ER, tireless multi-hyphenate Shonda Rhimes worked for years as a feature-film screenwriter before bringing Grey's Anatomy to the small screen in 2005. Of course, writing comes easy for the lifelong storyteller who was tape-recording stories for her parents to transcribe before she even learned to spell, yet entering into the world of show business proved a formidable task for the artist who wasn't used to the idea of dealing with network executives.

It was Rhimes' screenplay for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge that earned actress Halle Berry her first Emmy, and after the success of the Britney Spears road movie Crossroads and the well-received Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, it seemed that the emerging talent had a successful career writing features in her future. Yet all of that would change when Rhimes adopted a newborn child back in 2002. In the months after adopting the child, Rhimes found herself largely housebound and rediscovering her love of television. Realizing that she was just as capable of creating a successful weekly series as she was a stand-alone feature, the ambitious writer created a show concerning a group of sexy young war correspondents. As fate would have it, however, the war in Iraq would prompt Touchstone to cancel the series before it even went before the cameras, yet rumors persisted that the studio was searching for a quality medical drama. It didn't take long for the University Park, IL, native to grasp the inherent drama of being a medical intern, and in 2005, Grey's Anatomy debuted to critical and popular acclaim. It seemed that the writer who had once been accepted to USC on the prestigious Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship had finally arrived, and that, despite some hard times getting there, Rhimes had finally hit her stride as a writer, while showing impressive growth as a producer as well.

With Grey's Anatomy still maintaining an impressive fan base three years after its debut, Rhimes continued telling the story of popular character Dr. Addison Forbes Montgomery (Kate Walsh) in the spin-off series Private Practice in fall 2007.

In 2012 she created the series Scandal which focused on a crisis management expert handling PR disasters.

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  • Is the youngest of six children.
  • Director of the Black Underground Theatre and Arts Association while an undergrad at Dartmouth.
  • Worked in advertising before enrolling in film school.
  • Received the prestigious Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship while earning her MFA at USC.
  • Before creating the hit show Grey's Anatomy, wrote the screenplays for films like Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, Crossroads and The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement.
  • Won the first of many NAACP Image Awards in 2007.
  • Was inspired by professional crisis manager Judy Smith to create the ABC series Scandal; Smith serves as an executive producer.