Shonda Lynn Rhimes is an American television producer, screenwriter, and author. She is best known as the show runner—creator, head writer, and executive producer—of the television medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, its spin-off Private Practice, and the political thriller series Scandal. Rhimes has also served as the executive producer of the ABC television series Off the Map, How to Get Away with Murder, and The Catch.
In 2007, Rhimes was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 People Who Help Shape the World. In 2015, she published her first book, a memoir, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person. In 2017 Netflix said that it had entered into a multi-year development deal with Rhimes, by which all of her future productions will be Netflix Original series. They already had purchased streaming rights to back episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.
Rhimes was born in Chicago, Illinois, as the youngest of six children of Vera P. (Cain), a college professor, and Ilee Rhimes, Jr., a university administrator. Rhimes lived in Park Forest South (now University Park, Illinois), with her two older brothers and three older sisters. She has said she exhibited an early affinity for storytelling. While in high school, she served as a hospital volunteer, which inspired an interest in hospital environments.
Rhimes attended Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois. At Dartmouth College, she majored in English and film studies and earned her bachelor’s degree. At Dartmouth, she joined the Black Underground Theater Association. She divided her time between directing and performing in student productions, and writing fiction.
After college, she relocated to San Francisco with an older sibling and worked in advertising at McCann Erickson. She subsequently moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California and study screenwriting. Ranked at the top of her USC class, Rhimes earned the Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship. She obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
While at USC, Rhimes was hired as an intern by Debra Martin Chase. Rhimes credits her early success, in part, to mentors such as this prominent African-American producer, and she worked at Denzel Washington’s company, Mundy Lane Entertainment. Chase served as a mentor to Rhimes: they worked together on The Princess Diaries 2.
Thank you Shonda Rhimes (#shondarhimes) for being an Inspiring Woman!
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