Ryan Murphy: American film and television screenwriter, director, and producer (1965-) | Biography
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Ryan Murphy
American film and television screenwriter, director, and producer

Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American film and television screenwriter, director, and producer
Is Screenwriter Film director Journalist Writer Film producer
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Journalism Literature
Gender male
Birth 9 November 1965, Indianapolis, USA
Age 57 years
Star sign Scorpio
Ryan Murphy
The details (from wikipedia)


Ryan Patrick Murphy (born November 9, 1965) is an American screenwriter, director, and producer. Murphy is best known for creating/co-creating/producing a number of successful television series, including Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story, Scream Queens, Pose, and 9-1-1. He is also known for directing the 2010 film adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling memoir Eat, Pray, Love and the 2014 HBO film adaptation of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, which earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.

Early life

Murphy was born on November 9, 1965, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was raised in an Irish Catholic family. He attended Catholic school from first through eighth grade, and graduated from Warren Central High School in Indianapolis. He has described his mother J. Andy Murphy as a "beauty queen who left it all to stay at home and take care of her two sons". She wrote five books and worked in communications for over 20 years before retiring. His father worked in the newspaper industry as a circulation director before he retired after 30 years.

After coming out as gay, Murphy saw his first therapist, who found nothing wrong with him other than being "too precocious for his own good". During a 2012 interview on Inside the Actors Studio, Murphy claimed that he secretly dated "a lot of football players" in high school. He performed with a choir as a child, which would later inform his work on Glee. Murphy attended Indiana University Bloomington, where he majored in journalism.



Murphy started as a journalist working for The Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Knoxville News Sentinel and Entertainment Weekly. He began scriptwriting in the late 1990s, when Steven Spielberg purchased his script Why Can't I Be Audrey Hepburn?.

Television series

Popular and Nip/Tuck

Murphy started his career in television with the teen comedy series Popular, which he co-created with Gina Matthews. The series premiered on The WB on September 29, 1999 and ran for two seasons, ending in 2001. He then created the FX drama series Nip/Tuck, which premiered on July 18, 2003. In 2004, Murphy earned his first Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. Murphy took the show's signature line, "Tell me what you don't like about yourself," from a plastic surgeon he met when he was a journalist researching an undercover story on plastic surgery in Beverly Hills. The series ended after six seasons in 2010.


On May 19, 2009, Murphy's musical comedy-drama series, Glee, premiered on Fox. He co-created the series with Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. In its early seasons, the show was critically lauded. Murphy won his first Primetime Emmy Award for directing the pilot episode. The series concluded in 2015 following its sixth season. Murphy was one of four executive producers on the reality television series The Glee Project, which premiered on Oxygen on June 12, 2011. The show featured a group of contestants vying for the prize of a seven-episode arc on Glee, with someone being eliminated each week, until the winner is chosen in the final episode. The show was renewed for a second season, which ended up being its last.

The New Normal

Murphy and Glee co-executive producer Ali Adler created the half-hour comedy The New Normal, which premiered on NBC on September 10, 2012. The series was based on Murphy's own experiences of having a child via surrogate, with the main characters, Bryan and David, named for Ryan and his husband. The series was ultimately cancelled after one season.

Anthology series and Scream Queens

Murphy and Falchuk created the anthology series American Horror Story, which premiered on FX on October 5, 2011. Some of the same cast have played different characters in different settings each subsequent season. In October 2014, FX greenlit a companion anthology series, American Crime Story, which Murphy and Falchuk executive produce. The series premiered on February 2, 2016.

Murphy, Falchuk and Brennan next co-created the comedy-horror series Scream Queens, which premiered on Fox on September 22, 2015. The series was cancelled after two seasons.

Murphy's next project, the drama anthology series Feud, premiered on FX in 2017. The first season focused on the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford on the set of their 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.


With newcomer Steven Canals, a research assistant for Dustin Lance Black before his Master of Fine Arts at UCLA, Murphy and Falchuk launched a new series set in the Ball community in mid-1980s New York City. Murphy had wanted to adapt Paris is Burning as a series and Canals had been writing a script while at graduate school centered on a young African American teen made homeless for being gay, who moved to New York with dreams of going to dance school and who became adopted by a House mother. Joining Canals, Murphy and Falchuk in the writing room were Our Lady J and Janet Mock, who Murphy also encouraged to direct an episode, making her the first trans woman of colour to do so, as well as the first trans woman of colour in a TV series writing room.

The series premiered on FX on June 3, 2018, attracting critical acclaim. The first season boasted the largest cast of transgender actors ever for a scripted network series with over 50 transgender characters, all played by trans actors. On July 12, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a second season, which is set to premiere sometime in 2019.

In May 2018, ahead of the premiere, Murphy announced that he would be donating all his profits from Pose to charitable organizations working with LGBTQ+ people, tweeting a different non-profit including Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and Callen-Lorde Community Health Center telling Variety that: “The thing that struck me in talking to so many of them, was how much they've struggled, how under attack they feel, how many of them find it difficult getting healthcare, and finding jobs. I just decided I need to do more than just making a show for this community. I want to reach out and help this community.”

The Politician

In September 2019, The Politician was released on Netflix to generally positive reviews. The series was nominated for two Golden Globes in 2019 and renewed for a second season due to be released in late 2020.

Unsold pilots

Murphy has also created/produced a couple of failed pilots. The WB sitcom pilot St. Sass, starring Delta Burke and Heather Matarazzo, was not picked up. In 2008, Murphy wrote and directed the FX pilot Pretty/Handsome, which also was not picked up. By April 2013, HBO had given a pilot order for Murphy's sexuality drama Open, which began filming in late 2013. By September 2014, HBO had opted not to proceed to series.

Work with Netflix

In 2018, he was hired by Netflix with a compensation of $300 million for a period of five years.


In 2006, Murphy wrote the screenplay for and directed the feature film Running with Scissors. Based on the memoir by Augusten Burroughs, the movie version starred Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin and Brian Cox and, as the young Burroughs, Joseph Cross. In 2010, Murphy directed Julia Roberts in an adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir Eat, Pray, Love. The film was a box office success but a critical failure, receiving harsh reviews criticizing its pacing and lack of credibility. To date, the film has grossed $204,482,125 worldwide.

Murphy next directed the 2014 television film adaptation of Larry Kramer's Broadway play The Normal Heart, starring Mark Ruffalo, Roberts, Baldwin, Jonathan Groff, Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons. Murphy then collaborated with The Normal Heart executive producer Jason Blum to produce the remake of the cult-classic horror film The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The film was the directorial debut of Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and was also released in 2014.

Murphy has had several films in development: Dirty Tricks, a political comedy, One Hit Wonders, a musical comedy, and a sequel to The Normal Heart. In 2014, Murphy was developing a feature film of the life of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark, based on the best-selling book Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune.

Personal life

(l-r) Governor appointee Don Norte, Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy, and Norte's husband, gay activist Kevin Norte, at Spring Time GLAAD 2010's charitable event in Century City, Los Angeles, California.

Murphy grew up in a Catholic household and continues to go to church. He serves on the National Advisory Board of Young Storytellers. He once owned a house designed by renowned mid-century modern architect Carl Maston.

In an interview about his show Pose, which is set in 1987, during the height of the initial AIDS crisis, Murphy described his concern about contracting HIV while at college, getting tested frequently even when celibate.

Murphy has been married to photographer David Miller since July 2012. On December 24, 2012, Murphy and Miller welcomed their first child, a son named Logan Phineas, via a surrogate. In October 2014, they welcomed their second son, Ford.

In October 2015, Murphy received the Award of Inspiration from amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research for his contributions to TV and film as well as his work in the fight against AIDS.

In 2017, Murphy launched the Half Initiative, which aims to make Hollywood more inclusive by creating equal opportunities for women and minorities behind the camera. Less than one year after launching Half, Ryan Murphy Television's director slate hired 60% women directors and 90% met its women & minority requirement. In conjunction with the hiring goals, the Initiative launched the Half-Director Mentorship Program in which every director on every Ryan Murphy Television production mentors emerging women and minority directors through pre-production and post-production along with offering a significant stipend for their commitment. Filmmaker Kristin Fairweather, the first recipient of a HALF award, described her experience in an interview with Screen Comment's Rudy Cecera.

Frequent casting

Actor Popular
American Horror Story
The New Normal
Scream Queens
American Crime Story
The Politician
9-1-1: Lone Star
Total roles
Max Adler   Dave Karofsky   Sam   2
Laura Allen   Rosie   Marcy Nash   2
Jacob Artist   Jake Puckerman Todd Connors   2
Angela Bassett     Athena Grant   2
Billy Eichner     Matt Drudge   2
Kathy Bates     Joan Blondell   2
Willam Belli   Cherry Peck Party guest   Nana Drag Queen   3
Sandra Bernhard   Hannah   Nurse Judy   2
Leslie Bibb Brooke McQueen Naomi Gaines   2
Matt Bomer   Cooper Anderson Monty   Director   4
Jon Jon Briones   Ariel Augustus   Modesto Cunanan   Dr. Richard Hanover   3
Connie Britton   Vivien Harmon (   Faye Resnick   Abby Clark   3
Cocoa Brown   Jeanette "Queen B" Harris   Carla Price   2
Kenneth Choi   Dr. Wu   Lance Ito   Howie Han   3
Frances Conroy   Jane Fields     2
Darren Criss   Blaine Anderson Justin   Andrew Cunanan   TBA 4
Earlene Davis   Andrea Carmichael   Agnes Moorehead Entitled Woman   3
Judy Davis   Hedda Hopper   TBA   2
Laura Dreyfuss   Maddison McCarthy   McAfee Westbrook   2
James Earl   Azimio Adams   Chamberlain Jackson   2
Christine Ebersole   Anna Leigh Leighton   Bobbi   2
Christine Estabrook   Sheila Carlton   Marcy   Gloria   2
Cody Fern     David Madson   2
Jessalyn Gilsig   Gina Russo Terri Schuester   2
Cuba Gooding Jr.   Dominic Banks   O. J. Simpson   2
Max Greenfield   Gabriel   Ronnie Holston   2
Leslie Grossman Mary Cherry Bliss Berger   Melissa   4
Harriet Harris   Madelyn   TBA   2
Neil Patrick Harris   Bryan Ryan Chester Creb   2
Colton Haynes   Detective Jack Samuels   Tyler   2
Jan Hoag   Margot Roberta   Ms. Bean   3
Jackie Hoffman   Frances   Mamacita   Sherry Dougal   3
Cheyenne Jackson   Dustin Goolsby   2
Bryce Johnson Josh Ford Corporal Oliver Brandt Cody Tolentino   3
Dot Jones   Tess Shannon/Sheldon Beiste Butchy May   3
Jessica Lange     Joan Crawford   Dusty Jackson   3
NeNe Leakes   Roz Washington   Rocky Rhoades   2
Judith Light   Marilyn Miglin   Dede Standish   2
Billie Lourd     Sadie Swenson/Chanel #3   2
Patti LuPone   Herself Joan Ramsey   Frederica Norman   TBA 2
Jane Lynch Suzi Klein   Sue Sylvester   2
Kate Mara   Vanessa Bartholomew   Hayden McClaine   Patty Bowes   3
Ricky Martin   David Martinez   Antonio D'Amico   2
Dylan McDermott     Theo Klein   TBA 2
James Morosini     Bart   2
Lea Michele   Rachel Berry   Hester Ulrich   2
Gwyneth Paltrow   Holly Holliday   Abby   Georgina Hobart   2
Sarah Paulson   Agatha Ripp     Marcia Clark Geraldine Page   Nurse Ratched   5
Evan Peters     Stan Bowes   2
Adina Porter   History teacher   2
Billy Porter   Behold Chablis   Pray Tell   2
Lily Rabe   Lanie Ainge     2
Andrew Rannells   Himself   Bryan Collins   3
Emma Roberts     Chanel Oberlin   2
Romy Rosemont   Libby Zucker Carole Hudson-Hummel   Jill Shively   Lola   4
Angelica Ross   Rita   Candy Ferocity   2
Skyler Samuels   Bonnie Lipton   Grace Gardner   2
Riley Schmidt   Rubber Man   Red Devil, Zak, Green Meanie   2
Teddy Sears   Patrick   William   2
Brooke Shields   Faith Wolper   Dr. Scarlett Lovin   2
John Stamos   Carl Howell   Brice Brock Holt   3
Matthew Morrison   Will Schuester Trevor Kirchner   2
Dijon Talton   Matt Rutherford   Police Officer   2
Finn Wittrock     Jeffery Trail   TBA   3


Murphy had some arguments with famous bands and their members over using their music for Glee; including Slash from Guns N' Roses, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, and Kings of Leon lead singer, Caleb Followill, and drummer, Nathan Followill. Speaking to Taylor Hawkins in 2011, Grohl stated, "The Glee guy, what a f---ing jerk. Slash was the first one. He wanted to do Guns 'n' Roses and Slash is like, 'I hate f---ing musicals. It's worse than Grease.' Then [Murphy's] like, 'Well, of course he'd say that, he's a washed up ol' rock star, that's what they f---ing do.' And then Kings of Leon say, 'No, we don't want to be on your show.' And then he's like, 'Snotty little assholes…' And it's just like, Dude, maybe not everyone loves Glee. Me included.”

Awards and nominations

Emmy Awards

Ryan Murphy has won 6 Emmy awards out of 28 nominations as a producer, writer and director.

Year Category Nominated work Result
2004 Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
2010 Outstanding Comedy Series
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Won
2011 Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
2012 Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story
Outstanding Main Title Design Nominated
2013 Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story: Asylum
Outstanding Main Title Design Nominated
2014 Outstanding Television Movie
The Normal Heart
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
Outstanding Limited Series
American Horror Story: Coven
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
2015 Outstanding Limited Series
American Horror Story: Freak Show
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
Outstanding Main Title Design Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series
American Horror Story: Extra-Ordinary Artists
2016 Outstanding Limited Series
The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series
Inside Look: The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story
2017 Outstanding Limited Series
Feud: Bette and Joan
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
Outstanding Main Title Design Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series
Feud: Bette and Joan: Inside Look
2018 Outstanding Limited Series
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Won
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story: America's Obsessions
2019 Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series
Pose: Identity, Family, Community (Inside Look)

Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States. Ryan Murphy has been nominated for three awards as a producer.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2011 "Don't Stop Believin' (Regionals Version)" Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Nominated
Glee: The Music, Volume 1 Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media Nominated
2012 Glee: The Music, Volume 4 Nominated

Tony Awards

Ryan Murphy has won a Tony award out of 2 nominations as a producer.

Year Category Nominated work Result
2016 Best Revival of a Play Long Day's Journey Into Night Nominated
2019 The Boys in the Band Won
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 23 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is Ryan Murphy?
A: Ryan Murphy is an American screenwriter, director, and producer known for creating and producing television shows such as "Glee," "American Horror Story," and "Nip/Tuck."
Q: When was Ryan Murphy born?
A: Ryan Murphy was born on November 9, 1965, in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States.
Q: What are some of Ryan Murphy's notable works?
A: Some of Ryan Murphy's notable works include "Glee," a musical comedy-drama series; "American Horror Story," an anthology horror series; and "Nip/Tuck," a medical drama series.
Q: Has Ryan Murphy won any awards for his work?
A: Yes, Ryan Murphy has won numerous awards for his work, including four Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award.
Q: What is the Netflix deal that Ryan Murphy signed?
A: Ryan Murphy signed a five-year deal worth $300 million with Netflix in 2018. Under this deal, he will produce new series and films exclusively for the streaming platform.
Q: Did Ryan Murphy work in theater productions as well?
A: Yes, Ryan Murphy has also worked in theater productions. He directed the successful Broadway revival of "The Boys in the Band" in 2018 and co-produced the musical "The Prom" in 2020.
Q: Is Ryan Murphy involved in any philanthropic work?
A: Yes, Ryan Murphy is involved in philanthropy. He and his husband, David Miller, established the Half Foundation, which aims to create more opportunities for underrepresented talent in the entertainment industry.
Q: What is Ryan Murphy's approach to storytelling?
A: Ryan Murphy's approach to storytelling is often characterized by its unique blend of dark humor, social commentary, and tackling taboo subjects. He is known for pushing boundaries and exploring complex characters and themes.
Q: Does Ryan Murphy have any upcoming projects?
A: Yes, Ryan Murphy has several upcoming projects. Some of them include "Ratched," a series based on the character Nurse Ratched from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and "Halston," a limited series about the iconic fashion designer.
Q: How has Ryan Murphy influenced the television industry?
A: Ryan Murphy has significantly influenced the television industry through his groundbreaking and diverse storytelling. His shows have challenged traditional norms and given voice to underrepresented communities, paving the way for more inclusive and innovative content.
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