Vince Gilligan

Vince Gilligan Biography

Television Producer, Screenwriter (1967–)
Vince Gilligan is a writer, director and producer best known for creating the critically acclaimed television drama Breaking Bad.


Born on February 10, 1967, in Richmond, Virginia, Vince Gilligan developed an early love of storytelling and filmmaking. Gilligan studied film at New York University and in 1994 began to work as a writer on The X-Files. In 2008, he launched the television series Breaking Bad, about a chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin. The widely acclaimed program was on the air for five seasons.

Younger Years

George Vincent Gilligan Jr. was born on February 10, 1967, in Richmond, Virginia. Gilligan's father, George Sr., worked as an insurance adjuster and his mother, Gail, was a teacher. The two divorced in 1974. Gilligan grew up in Farmville, Virginia, and later moved to Chesterfield County during high school.

From an early age, Gilligan was drawn to storytelling. His grandfather owned a Richmond bookstore where Gilligan was a frequent customer, picking up comic books and science fiction paperbacks. Like his father, he developed a passion for classic films, and on his bedroom walls Gilligan displayed a variety of movie posters.

Gilligan also began telling his own stories at a young age. With a family friend's Super 8 camera, he would make short movies, many of them featuring his younger brother, Patrick.

Early Career

After graduating from high school in 1985, Vince Gilligan earned a partial scholarship to New York University, where he majored in film. Shortly after graduating, Gilligan caught his first major break when he won a 1989 screenwriting contest. One of the judges, producer Mark Johnson, was so enamored with Gilligan's work that he helped him find an agent.

With representation, Gilligan began selling his screenplays to Hollywood. Two of his scripts were for the films Home Fries (1998), starring Drew Barrymore, and Wilder Napalm (1993), with Debra Winger and Dennis Quaid.

In 1994, Vince Gilligan, who was still living in Richmond, was introduced to Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files. Gilligan wrote a freelance script for the series, then was hired as a writer. Over the next seven years, Gilligan worked as a writer and became a producer on the critically acclaimed show. Gilligan also served as executive producer for a short-lived X-Files spin-off series, The Lone Gunmen.

'Breaking Bad' and Beyond

In 2004, a friend told Gilligan about a man who had been cooking meth in an apartment complex. This gave Gilligan the kernel of an idea that would become Breaking Bad. Though he initially found that no network was interested when he pitched his story, Gilligan did not forget about this idea.

In 2007, when AMC was looking for another program to complement the success of Mad Men, Gilligan met with network executives. He sold them on a show that follows the story of a chemistry teacher who transforms into a meth cook and drug kingpin.

Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, debuted in 2008. Over its five seasons, the show won an assortment of awards, including a Peabody Award and multiple Emmys.

Gilligan's success has made it easier for him to sell ideas. In 2013, he reached a deal for a Breaking Bad spin-off series, Better Call Saul, in which Bob Odenkirk reprises his role as seedy, comic lawyer Saul Goodman. That same year, CBS bought Gilligan's decade-old script for Battle Creek, a police drama that is scheduled to begin airing in 2014.

Personal Life

Gilligan has a longtime girlfriend named Holly Rice. The two live in Los Angeles, California.

Fact Check

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