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Ryan Murphy (writer)

Ryan Murphy
File:Ryan Murphy at PaleyFest 2013.jpg
Murphy at the PaleyFest 2013 panel for The New Normal
Born (1965-11-30) November 30, 1965 (age 54)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
  • Screenwriter
  • director
  • producer
Nationality American
Alma mater IU Bloomington
Spouse David Miller (m. 2012)
Children 2

Ryan Murphy (born November 30, 1965)[1] is an American film and television screenwriter, director and producer. Murphy is best known for creating/co-creating a number of television series including Popular (1999–2001), Nip/Tuck (2003–10), Glee (2009–15), American Horror Story (2011–present), and The New Normal (2012–13).

Early life

Murphy grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, in an Irish Catholic family.[2][3] He attended Catholic school from first through eighth grade,[2] and graduated from Warren Central High School (Indianapolis). He has described his mother 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.[4]

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."[2][4] Murphy performed with a choir as a child, which would later inform his work on Glee.[2] Murphy attended Indiana University, Bloomington. While at college, he was a staff member of the school newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student, and he was a member of the school's Singing Hoosiers show choir.



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?.[4]


Popular and Nip/Tuck

Murphy started his career in television in 1999 with the teen comedy series Popular. The show aired on The WB for two seasons.[5] Murphy is the Golden Globe Award-winning creator of Nip/Tuck, which aired on FX and was both a commercial and critical hit. He produced, wrote, and directed many episodes; in 2004, Murphy earned his first ever Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.[4] 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.


One of Murphy's most successful projects was the Fox musical comedy-drama Glee, co-created with Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. Fox aired a preview episode on May 19, 2009, following the season finale of American Idol; the show aired its first regular season episode on September 9, 2009. The show's early success in its planned 13 episode run led the network to order an additional 9 episodes for the spring, making it the first new fall series in 2009 to get a full season order of 22 episodes. It was announced during the last half of the first season that Fox had ordered a complete second and third season of Glee due to high ratings and positive feedback about the show and its characters.[6] He won his first Primetime Emmy Award for directing the pilot episode of Glee, while the show received a record 19 nominations including Outstanding Comedy Series, (although it lost to Modern Family); it won in four categories.[7] The show was nominated for 12 Emmy Awards for its second season.[7] The series concluded in 2015 following its sixth season.[8]

Murphy was one of four executive producers on the reality television series The Glee Project, which premiered on Oxygen on June 12, 2011.[9] The show featured a group of contestants vying for the prize of a 7 episode arc on Glee, with one being eliminated each week until the winner is chosen from those remaining in the final episode. The show was renewed for a second season, which ended up being its last.[10]

The New Normal

Murphy and Glee co-executive producer Ali Adler created The New Normal, a half-hour comedy that "centers on a gay couple and the surrogate who will carry their child," which started airing on NBC in the fall of 2012. The series was based on Murphy's own experiences having a child via surrogate, with the main characters, Bryan and David, named for Ryan and his husband.[11] According to Entertainment Weekly, there was a bidding war in October 2011 between ABC, NBC, and Fox for the project.[12] The announcement that NBC had officially ordered a pilot episode for the series was made on January 27, 2012,[13] and a season order followed on May 7, 2012. However, the series was canceled after one season.[14]

Anthology series

Another project of Murphy's with Falchuk, the anthology series American Horror Story, premiered on FX on October 5, 2011, and was nominated for 17 Emmy Awards for its debut season. The series ended its fourth season on January 21, 2015, and featured some of the same cast as the first and second, but playing different characters and in a different setting.[15][16]

In October 2014, it was announced that FX had given a 10 episode straight-to-series order for American Crime Story, a true crime anthology series that will serve as a companion piece to American Horror Story.[17] The first season, set to air in 2015, will star Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer and John Travolta.[18] That same month, it was announced that Fox had given a 15 episode straight-to-series order for Scream Queens, a comedy-horror anthology series created by Murphy, Falchuk, and Brennan.[19] The first season, set on a college campus, will star Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele and Abigail Breslin.[20]

Past series
Series Original run Description
Popular 1999–2001 (The WB) Brooke McQueen (Leslie Bibb) and Samantha McPherson (Carly Pope), students at Jacqueline Kennedy High School, are polar opposites. Brooke is a popular cheerleader and Sam is an unpopular journalist. Their respective groups are forced to socialize when Brooke's father and Sam's mother get engaged and the two girls have to share a house. The series concluded after its second season without a proper finale.
Nip/Tuck 2003–10 (FX) Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) are best friends and two prestigious plastic surgeons working in the luxurious and glamorous Miami. The work, envy, personal problems, and love intersect in their relationship making dramatic storylines. Each episode features a different operation and is titled with the name of the patient. The series ran for 100 episodes, concluding with the series finale on March 3, 2010 after six seasons.
Glee 2009–15 (Fox) The series follows the William McKinley High School's glee club named New Directions located in Lima, Ohio; most of the members are on the fringes of the school's society, though a few are popular jocks and cheerleaders. The glee club is directed by teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), who falls in love with guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays). The club's lead singer, Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), starts as an egocentric sophomore who aspires to be a Broadway star, and the show follows her through show choir championships to Broadway. The series was renewed for a sixth and final season, which aired from January 9, 2015 to March 20, 2015.
The New Normal 2012–13 (NBC) David Bartholomew Sawyer (Justin Bartha), an obstetrician, and Bryan Collins (Andrew Rannells), a television producer, are a happy gay couple in California who have everything they want, except a baby. They find Goldie (Georgia King), a mother who has left a failed marriage in Ohio, who agrees to become Bryan and David's gestational surrogate. Over the course of the pregnancy, their families become intertwined. Goldie gives birth and David and Bryan formally marry in the season one finale. The show was not renewed for a second season.
Current series
Series Original run Description
American Horror Story 2011–present (FX) Murder House: The Harmon family moves from Boston to Los Angeles after Vivien (Connie Britton), the mother, has a miscarriage and Ben (Dylan McDermott), the father, has an affair with Hayden (Kate Mara), one of his students. The family moves to a restored mansion, unaware that the house is haunted by ghosts of residents who died there. Their neighbor Constance (Jessica Lange) and her daughter Addie (Jamie Brewer) become frequent, and sometimes unwelcome, guests. Addie seems to have a connection with the house's mysterious past. Larry Harvey (Denis O'Hare), a former resident of the house who has suffered from horrible burns, also begins inserting himself into the Harmons' lives, giving Ben a cryptic warning about the house.

Asylum: Kit Walker (Evan Peters) is sent to Briarcliff, a place that was bought by the Catholic Church and became an asylum for the criminally insane. He is accused of being the notorious serial killer, Bloody Face, after his wife Alma Walker (Britne Oldford) is found dead and missing her skin. Inside the asylum, he encounters the terrifying Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) and Sister Jude (Jessica Lange).

Coven: Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) discovers in a horrific way that she is a witch. She is whisked away to a mysterious school in New Orleans, devoted to safeguarding her kind. There, she meets Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange), the long-absent Supreme who has a hidden agenda for the students. Zoe also meets Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), Fiona's daughter and teacher at the school.

Freak Show: Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange), a German woman in Jupiter, Florida, tries to revamp the public's interest in freak shows in the 1950s with a new group of freaks and oddities, but there are obstacles and opposition ahead.

Scream Queens Set to air in 2015 (Fox) The series, which is a horror-comedy anthology series, will be based on a college campus that is rocked by a series of murders. The first season of the show will star Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Oliver Hudson, Keke Palmer and Abigail Breslin in leading roles.
American Crime Story Set to air in 2016 (FX) The series, a companion piece to American Horror Story, is set to be a true crime anthology series. Murphy has stated that the first season will be about the famous trial of O. J. Simpson. Cuba Gooding Jr. is set to play Simpson, with Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark and David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian. John Travolta also joined the cast, and will produce the show.

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.[21] In April 2013, it was announced that HBO had given a pilot order for Murphy's sexuality drama Open, which began filming in late 2013.[22] In September 2014, it was reported that HBO had opted not to pick up the pilot to series.[23]


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.[24]

On January 20, 2012, it was announced that Murphy would direct a television film adaptation of Larry Kramer's Broadway play The Normal Heart, starring Mark Ruffalo, Roberts, Baldwin, Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons.[25] 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.[26] The film was the directorial debut of Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who has directed episodes of Glee and American Horror Story. It was released in 2014.

As of 2011, Murphy has several films in development: Dirty Tricks, a political comedy; Best Actress, a biographical drama based on the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford; and One Hit Wonders, a musical comedy reportedly set to star Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Beyoncé Knowles and Andy Samberg. In 2014, Murphy was developing a feature film of the life of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark, based on the number one bestselling book Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune.[27]

Personal life

File:Glee RYAN.MURPHY.jpg
(l-r) Governor appointee Don Norte, Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy, and Norte's husband, gay activist Kevin Norte, at Spring Time G.L.A.A.D. 2010's Charitable Event in Century City, Los Angeles, California.

Murphy grew up in a Catholic household and continues to go to church.[2][28] He serves on the National Advisory Board of the Young Storytellers Foundation. He once owned a house designed by renowned mid-century modern architect Carl Maston.[29]

Murphy is married to David Miller, a photographer.[30] On December 24, 2012, Murphy and Miller welcomed their first child, a son named Logan Phineas, via surrogate. In October 2014, they welcomed a second child into their family, called Ford.[31] He was previously in a long-term relationship with director Bill Condon.


Ryan Murphy has had some public arguments with famous bands and their members, including Slash from Guns N' Roses, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, and Kings of Leon lead singer, Caleb Followill, and drummer, Nathan Followill.[32] These arguments have stemmed from the musicians declining Murphy when asked to have their music covered on Glee.

The New Normal has been criticised for perpetuating racial stereotypes and using a person born intersex as an object of derision.[33][34]

Recurring collaborators

This chart lists every actor who has appeared in more than one film or show directed, produced or written by Murphy. Matt Bomer, Sarah Paulson and Leslie Grossman are Murphy's most prolific collaborators, having appeared in four of his films or television series.

Actor Popular Nip/Tuck Running with Scissors Glee Pretty/Handsome Eat Pray Love American Horror Story The New Normal The Normal Heart The Town That Dreaded Sundown Scream Queens American Crime Story
Alec Baldwin X markN X markN
Bob Bancroft X markN X markN
Robin Bartlett X markN X markN
Willam Belli X markN X markN
Leslie Bibb X markN X markN
Matt Bomer X markN X markN X markN X markN
Barry Bostwick X markN X markN X markN
Connie Britton X markN X markN
Dean Cameron X markN X markN
Veronica Cartwright X markN X markN
Nancy Cassaro X markN X markN
Kristin Chenoweth X markN X markN
Susan Chuang X markN X markN
Frances Conroy X markN X markN
Mark Consuelos X markN X markN
Tanya Clarke X markN X markN
Jill Clayburgh X markN X markN
Parker Croft X markN X markN
Lisa Darr X markN X markN
Adria Dawn X markN X markN
Clea DuVall X markN X markN
Brando Eaton X markN X markN
Christine Estabrook X markN X markN
Joseph Fiennes X markN X markN X markN
Jessalyn Gilsig X markN X markN
Eve Gordon X markN X markN
Jonathan Groff X markN X markN X markN
Nolan Gross X markN X markN
Leslie Grossman X markN X markN X markN X markN
Neil Patrick Harris X markN X markN
Randee Heller X markN X markN
Preston James Hillier X markN X markN
Tara Holt X markN X markN
Valorie Hubbard X markN X markN
Cheyenne Jackson X markN X markN
Dot-Marie Jones X markN X markN X markN
Bryce Johnson X markN X markN X markN
Sade Kimora Young X markN X markN
Teddy Lane, Jr. X markN X markN X markN
NeNe Leakes X markN X markN
Deirdre Lovejoy X markN X markN
Patti LuPone X markN X markN
Jane Lynch X markN X markN
Kate Mara X markN X markN
Sandy Martin X markN X markN
Joel McKinnon Miller X markN X markN X markN
Rebecca Metz X markN X markN
Lea Michele X markN X markN
Denis O'Hare X markN X markN X markN
Mike O'Malley X markN X markN X markN
Gwyneth Paltrow X markN X markN X markN
Adina Porter X markN X markN
Lily Rabe X markN X markN
Andrew Rannells X markN X markN
Geoffrey Rivas X markN X markN
Sarah Paulson X markN X markN X markN X markN
Emma Roberts X markN X markN
Julia Roberts X markN X markN
John Stamos X markN X markN
Eric Stonestreet X markN X markN
Barbara Tarbuck X markN X markN X markN
Alessandra Torresani X markN X markN
Aisha Tyler X markN X markN
Andy Umberger X markN X markN
Malcolm-Jamal Warner X markN X markN
Finn Wittrock X markN X markN


  1. ^ "Ryan Murphy Biography". All Movie Guide via The New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "From Nip/Tuck to High School Glee", Fresh Air (NPR), May 19, 2009, retrieved November 25, 2009 
  3. ^ Martin, Denise (April 26, 2009). "'Glee' team rewrites the school musical". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 16, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d Roberts, Sheila, Ryan Murphy, Director of Running with Scissors Interview, Movies Online, retrieved November 25, 2009 
  5. ^ Bialis, Michael. "Ryan Murphy Makes His Lighthearted Plea With Glee". Retrieved October 28, 2010. 
  6. ^ Seidman, Robert (September 21, 2009), FOX sings praises of Glee with full-season pickup,, retrieved November 26, 2009 
  7. ^ a b "Glee". Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved August 10, 2011. 
  8. ^ Brown, Laurel (April 19, 2013). "'Glee' renewed for two seasons: FOX orders Season 5 and Season 6 early". Zap2it. Retrieved April 21, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Emmy® Award Winners Ryan Murphy and Dante Di Loreto Sign On To Executive Produce Oxygen's "The Glee Project"". Facebook. Retrieved January 23, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Oxygen Picks Up Second Season of Critically Acclaimed "The Glee Project," Returning Summer 2012". The Futon Critic. Oxygen. January 17, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  11. ^ "The New Normal - Andrew Rannells". Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  12. ^ Snierson, Dan (October 13, 2011). "NBC buys Ryan Murphy comedy pilot". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved October 13, 2011. 
  13. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (January 27, 2012). "Ryan Murphy's NBC Comedy Lands Pilot Order". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  14. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 7, 2012). "NBC Gives Series Orders to Ryan Murphy Comedy, J.J. Abrams Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 19, 2012. 
  15. ^ Frankel, Daniel. "'American Horror Story' gets season 2 order from FX". Reuters. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  16. ^ Mullins, Jenna (December 22, 2011). "American Horror Story Season Two Scoop: New House and (Mostly) New Faces". E! Online. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  17. ^ "'American Horror Story' Companion Series 'American Crime Story' From Ryan Murphy Set At FX – O.J. First Topic". Deadline. October 7, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson to Star in FX's 'American Crime Story: People v. O.J. Simpson'". The Hollywood Reporter. December 9, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Ryan Murphy & His 'Glee' Co-Creators Get Fox Series Order For Comedy-Horror Anthology 'Scream Queens'". Deadline. October 20, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis join Ryan Murphy's 'Scream Queens'". Entertainment Weekly. December 8, 2014. 
  21. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 17, 2011). "FX Orders Pilot From Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk, Duo Remains Committed To 'Glee'". Deadline. Media. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  22. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Ryan Murphy's Provocative Relationship Drama 'Open' Lands At HBO With Pilot Order". Retrieved April 14, 2013. 
  23. ^ "HBO Not Moving Forward With Ryan Murphy Sexuality Drama 'Open'". The Hollywood Reporter. September 11, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Eat Pray Love". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  25. ^ Kit, Borys (January 20, 2012). "Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons to Star in Ryan Murphy's Next Film". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  26. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (January 17, 2013). "Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum Teaming Up for MGM's Remake of 'The Town That Dreaded Sundown'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Ryan Murphy Options Movie Rights To Bestseller 'Empty Mansions' - Deadline". Deadline. March 14, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  28. ^ Poniewozik, James (March 7, 2005). "Queer Eye for Straight TV". Time Magazine. Retrieved August 20, 2008. 
  29. ^ "Carl Maston". La Curbedm. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  30. ^ Van Meter, Jonathan (September 18, 2012), "Ryan Murphy's Hope: Is American Ready for The New Normal?", Vogue Magazine, retrieved September 18, 2012 
  31. ^ "Ryan Murphy Second Child: Glee Creator Welcomes Baby Via Surrogate With Husband David Miller". Us Magazine. October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  32. ^ "'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy to Kings of Leon: 'F-- You'". Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  33. ^ Ryan, Maureen (September 10, 2012). "'The New Normal' Review: Ryan Murphy Up To His Old Tricks". The Huffington Post. 
  34. ^ Lang, Nico (October 17, 2013). "Because Racism Is So Last Year, The New Normal Is Making Fun of Intersex People Now". The Huffington Post. 

External links

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