Shonda Lynn Rhimes is an American television producer, screenwriter, and author. She is best known as the showrunner—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 was born in Chicago, Illinois, as the youngest of six children of Vera P., a college professor, and Ilee Rhimes, Jr., a university administrator. Her mother attended college while raising their six children and earned a PhD in educational administration in 1991. Her father, who holds an MBA, became chief information officer (CIO) at the University of Southern California, serving until 2013.
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 in 1991. At Dartmouth, she joined the Black Underground Theater Association. She divided her time between directing and performing in student productions, and writing fiction.
She also wrote for the college newspaper. 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 Chase, a prominent African-American producer. She also worked at Denzel Washington‘s company, Mundy Lane Entertainment. Chase served as a mentor to Rhimes: they worked together on The Princess Diaries 2.
She is best known as the showrunner—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, The Catch, and Grey’s spin-off Station 19.
In 2007 and 2021, Rhimes was named by Time on the Time 100, their annual list of the 100 most influential people in 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. Netflix had already purchased the streaming rights to past episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.
Shonda Rhimes is 52 years old (birth date January 13, 1970).
Shonda Rhimes was born in Chicago, Illinois, United States.