Shonda Rhimes, 1970

  • Shonda-Rhimes-WWP

Woman Category: Activism & Feminism and MediaWoman Tags: African-American Women, Playwright, and Producer

  • HerStory

    An award-winning screenwriter and television producer. Best known for creating the hit shows “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How To Get Away With Murder.”

    Shonda Lynn Rhimes was born in Chicago, IL, the youngest of six children. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Film Studies at Dartmouth College. While at college, Rhimes wrote for the college newspaper and performed and directed in students’ productions. She moved to LA to study screenwriting at the University of Southern California. Ranking top of her class, Rhimes granted the Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship.
    After earning her Master of Fine Arts degree, at the age of 28, she directed her first short film, “Blossoms and Veils,” starring Jada Pinkett-Smith. Then, she co-wrote the TV movie “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” starring Halle Berry. Rhimes’ career was on the rise, screenwriting Britney Spears’ movie “Crossroads” and working with her mentor Debra Martin Chase on “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement”.
    The first series Rhimes wrote, about war correspondents, wasn’t picked up, but in 2005, she had her breakthrough when “Grey’s Anatomy” was first aired. Since its premiere, the show became a hit, going into its 16th season in 2019. While developing the series, Rhimes founded the production company “Shondaland,” which enabled her to have control of her own show. Under Shondaland, Rhimes produced other shows she created, including the “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off “Private Practice,” the political drama “Scandal,” and the legal drama “How to Get Away with Murder.” Rhimes is also a producer of other creators’ shows, such as “For the people” and “Station 19.” When “Scandal” premiered in 2011, it became the first network drama in 4 decades to feature an African-American actress as the lead (Kerry Washington). In 2017, Netflix announced the multi-year development deal that they made with Rhimes, which is estimated to be more than $100 million.
    All of Rhimes’ shows are featuring strong female characters, and they all dealing with current social issues, such as race, sexuality, and gender gap. Rhimes was among the 300 women in the entertainment industry to launch the Time’s Up movement. Her point of view is reflected in her self-help book “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person,” as well as in the Dove’s #RealBeauty campaign, where she serves as the creative director.

    “Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.”

    “Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • By being the showrunner of “Grey’s Anatomy,” she became the first African-American woman to create and produce a Top 10 network show.
    • The inspiration for “Grey’s Anatomy” came from the environment she was exposed to in the hospital she volunteered in while she was in high school.
    • She has 3 children, 2 of them are adopted.
    • She has a fear of public speaking.
  • More About Her Legacy
    Creations By and About Her:

    * Books she wrote
    * DVDs of TV shows she created


    * Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series
    * Directors Guild of America Diversity Award
    * Inducted into the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame

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  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • you will always be my person | meredith&cristina

    HD - 'he's not the sun, you are'
    I love those two, it took me so long to be able to vid them without having to stop because of the tears, but after I heard this song I knew it was it.
    They took me through my teenage years and taught me the meaning of friendship, Cristina will always have a special place in my heart.

  • Rhimes at the 10th Annual Governors Awards in 2018 in LA. Photo credit - Shutterstock

  • Citations and Additional References:
    Shondaland website.
    IMDB page.
    Wikipedia page.