An academic over-achiever growing up, Rhimes received her BA from Dartmouth College in English literature and creative writing. After a short stint in advertising, she enrolled in the Writing for Screen & Television program at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, earning her MFA.
Soon after graduate school, Rhimes sold her first screenplay, Human Seeking Same, about an older black woman looking for love in the personals. The film never got made. But it did lead to her writing the 2002 feature film Crossroads with Britney Spears and The Princess Diaries 2 with Anne Hathaway. Completing the teleplay for HBO’s Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, which was made into a film starring Halle Berry, elevated Rhimes’ status in the business.
Her next endeavor was writing a pilot. The result?–only the award winning medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy. The show would win multiple Emmy awards, run for 12 seasons and counting, and launch a spin-off, Private Practice .
2012 was a big year for Rhimes, as she adopted a baby girl, Emerson Pearl, and launched another hit show, Scandal, on April 5, 2012. She had her own production company at this time, Shondaland, and was churning out projects. How to Get Away With Murder has been her latest success.
Shonda Rhimes will receive the 2016 Norman Lear Achievement Award from the Producers Guild of America. The award, which will recognize Rhimes’ nearly 20 years of groundbreaking and award-winning work as producer and showrunner, will be presented at the 27th Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Saturday, January 23, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.
She will also be honored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) with the “Ally for Equality” award at a 2015 Los Angeles Gala. The Human Rights Campaign is the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States.