Name: Shonda Lynn Rhimes
Born: January 13, 1970
Occupation: Writer, Director, Producer
Chicago-native Shonda Lynn Rhimes is one of six children of Vera and Ilee Rhimes, a college administrator and a college professor. She was the youngest of six children with a gift for storytelling and credits her time as a hospital volunteer in high school for her affinity for medical settings.
Rhimes left Chicago for Dartmouth College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English and film studies. She then moved to California and worked temporarily in advertising before moving to Los Angeles to study screenwriting at the University of Southern California. She was ranked at the top of her class and got her MFA from USC, but still found herself initially an unemployed screen writer.
Her early work included working as a research director for Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream and then she wrote Introducing Dorothy Dandrige for HBO, leading to several awards for star Halle Berry. Her first commercial success was Crossroads, starring Britney Spears, which grossed $60 million worldwide. Her first attempt at a movie pilot, a story about young female war correspondents, was turned down by ABC in 2003, but in 2005 the network picked up her pilot Grey’s Anatomy as a mid-season replacement. The show has since become a powerhouse and is entering its 11th season.
In 2014, the entire Thursday night line up for ABC featured shows with Rhimes at the helm, including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. Rhimes’ production company, Shondaland, currently has four shows on the network.
Rhimes has won a Golden Globe for her writing as well as several other awards. She has three daughters. She adopted two of them and the third was born through a gestational surrogate.
She has never shied from controversy and remains willing to kill of characters, no matter how popular, if the actor is deemed to be too demanding. Most recently, speculation runs rampant that she killed off Patrick Dempsey’s Grey’s Anatomy character because Dempsey said he wanted to pursue opportunities outside the show.
Forbes magazine estimated that Shondaland earned about $12 million in 2012 and since then she has added two more hit shows to her portfolio. Safe estimates are that Rhimes is worth about $60 million.
How much is $60 million?
In 2010, Rhimes upgraded from her $4 million Hollywood home to a $6 million property. With $60 million, Rhimes could buy her family home ten times over!