Shonda Rhimes Biography

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Birth Name: Shonda Rhimes
Born: 01/13/1970
Birth Place: University Park, Illinois, USA

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- ), 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- ), after the 2006 Super Bowl. That, combined with its brace of television awards and nominations in 2006, and its trumping of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 2000- ) and "E.R." (NBC, 1994- ) after moving from Sunday evenings to Thursdays, ensured that Rhimes and her series would enjoy a long Hollywood run.