We’d like to take a moment to celebrate a true queen, Shonda Rhimes. Born on January 13, 1970, the famed television producer, author, and screenwriter is 51 years old today and only getting better with time.
Everybody who’s anybody knows Ms. Rhimes’ name. She’s given us Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, and more — all of which led to Rhimes inking a $100 million overall deal with Netflix. Her most recent offering and second original for the streaming giant, Bridgerton, is a major hit, with fans desperate for a second season. Just 28 days after its release, Netflix announced Bridgerton had already been watched by more than 63 million users, making it their fifth most-watched original series ever.
“I wanted the new Shondaland to be a place where we expand the types of stories we tell, where my fellow talented creatives could thrive and make their best work and where we as a team come to the office each day filled with excitement,” Rhimes said via press release when her Netflix partnership was first announced over the summer. “Ted and Cindy and everyone at Netflix have been incredible partners in making that happen. This is Shondaland 2.0.”
Without question, Rhimes continues to be an inspiration to creatives all around the world. To celebrate the queen on her big day, we gathered a few interesting facts about her life and career below.
She thinks of herself as the “good girl” type and applied to U.S.C film school just to challenge herself.
From NYT: She un-self-consciously describes herself as a Tracy Flick-type, a good girl with her hand always in the air or her nose always in a book. After graduating from Dartmouth, she read an article in The Times that said getting into U.S.C. film school was harder than getting into Harvard Law and thought, “This sounds like a really competitive thing to do. I’m going to do it.”
Rhimes’ oldest daughter kind of, sort sparked her interest in TV.
From NYT: It was when Rhimes’s older daughter was an infant that she got turned on to TV. The baby wouldn’t sleep, so Rhimes would lay her on her chest while she watched “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Felicity” and “24.” “I thought, God, television is really good. And I’m really tired of writing about teenage girls and their makeovers.” She wrote a pilot for a show about war correspondents that stalled when the Iraq war started. Then she wrote “Grey’s Anatomy.” The show, about a bunch of great-looking, sharp-talking, bed-hopping, work-obsessed surgeons, became an unexpected hit in 2005.
She doesn’t have an Emmy but Rhimes has been honored by the Television Academy.
Somehow, Rhimes has never won an Emmy, although she was nominated for three — Oustanding Drama Series (Grey’s Anatomy, 2006 & 2007) & Oustanding Writing For A Drama Series (Grey’s Anatomy). In 2017, however, she became the third Black woman to be inducted into the TV Hall of Fame.
Rhimes is a single mother. She adopted her daughters Harper and Emerson in 2002 and 2012, respectively. She also welcomed her youngest daughter Becky through surrogacy in 2013.
Rhimes enjoyed trolling Scandal actor Joshua Malina, who was particularly jumpy about the possibility of getting killed off. His costar Tony Goldwyn told Jimmy Kimmel in 2018 that Rhimes put a fake final page in Malina’s script once. “Josh always had this habit, which we all found very annoying. As soon as the script would land on the table, he would turn it immediately & read the last page to find out what happened at the end. So, one day Shonda wrote that Josh’s character David died and then put a special last page in his script,” Goldwyn said. Apparently, the prank really scared Malina… ha!