Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy Biography.com

Screenwriter, Director, Producer, Television Producer(1965–)
Ryan Murphy is the creator of the popular American television programs Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story and The New Normal.

Synopsis

Born in 1965, Ryan Murphy was raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. After starting out as a journalist, Murphy moved into film and television, where he's worked as a producer, screenwriter and director. He launched his first program, Popular, in 1999, followed by Nip/Tuck in 2003. In 2009, Murphy's popular series Glee, about a high school glee club, debuted on FOX.

Early Life

One of television's most respected creators, Ryan Murphy was born on November 9, 1965, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The son of a pair of book publishers, Murphy attended Catholic school through the eighth grade.

Oddly enough, his early childhood was shaped by his two biggest passions: television and his hope to become the next pope, both of which, he admits, helped him get through Catholic school in their own unique way.

"My mother would tell me that you became the pope by not committing any sins, so I would sort of begin my day every morning with a prayer, please don't let me sin," he said in a 2009 interview with NPR's Fresh Air host, Terry Gross. "And, of course, by the time I got off the bus I would've committed three and I was like, "Well, this day's ruined. I'll start again tomorrow.' But I would practice with my staff and I had this outfit of robes. I would pretend to, I mean I was really into it for very very many years, and then slowly it dawned on me that I would not be able to go through a day committing no sin, and chances were that I wasn't going to be the pope. So I had to come up with another dream because I wasn't interested in being just a priest. I wanted to aim really, really high."

At Warren Central High School, Murphy was an active and engaged student. He joined the school's theater department, sang in the school choir and edited its paper.

By his own account, Murphy was a popular and confident kid, who at the age of 15 took the bold step of announcing he was gay. "I just sort of announced it, and that was that," he told Terry Gross. "And I guess because I was popular, and I hung out with the popular kids ... I kind of was embraced."

After graduating in 1983, Murphy enrolled at Indiana University, where he majored in journalism. After several internships, including ones at the Washington Post and the Miami Herald, Murphy moved into the newspaper world full-time and eventually began working as a reporter in Los Angeles, where he resides today.

Murphy's writing was a mix of lifestyle pieces and pop culture stories that appeared in publications like the Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly. When he had time off, Murphy, who still clung to his love for film and television, wrote screenplays. In the late 1990s, he sold a script titled, "Why Can't I Be Audrey Hepburn?"

After the script made the rounds in Hollywood several times—Steven Spielberg had initially signed on to direct it—Warner Brothers eventually obtained the script, and put it into development, casting Jennifer Love Hewitt in the lead. The film, however, was never finished.

Commercial Success

The sale of his script pushed Murphy to abandon journalism and embark on a career in film and television. His first program, Popular, a teenager comedy-drama for the WB Network starring Carly Pope and Leslie Bibb, ran for three seasons, beginning in 1999.

More success came in 2003 with the debut of FX's Nip/Tuck, which tells the tale of two plastic surgeons living and working in Miami, Florida. The highly successful program, which ended in 2010, was born out of Murphy's days as a journalist, when he started work on an investigative piece about the growing popularity of plastic surgery.

In the midst of Nip/Tuck's run, Murphy stepped into the film world in 2006, making his directorial debut with Running with Scissors, which was based on Augusten Burroughs's top-selling memoir of the same name.

Murphy continued his strong run in 2009, with the debut of Glee. The show, which is about a high school glee club and stars actress Jane Lynch, made Murphy a powerhouse in the television world. Murphy, who was inspired in part by his days in high school choir, conceived of the show with fellow writers Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. Murphy and Falchuk have also worked as the program's main directors.

Murphy later served as executive producer on American Horror Story, an acclaimed series that launched in 2011 with acting luminaries like Jessica Lange and Dylan McDermott. Then in May 2012, NBC announced plans to air Murphy's newest series, The New Normal. The program, which ran for a season, told the story of a blended family that consists of a gay couple and a woman who becomes their surrogate.

In May 2014, the HBO film The Normal Heart debuted, chronicling the story of the onset of the AIDS crisis in New York. Murphy was one of the executive producers on the project, adapted from the play of the same name and winning an Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie. 

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!