30 Fascinating Things We Bet You Never Knew About Shonda Rhimes


Shonda Rhimes, best known as the showrunner of the television medical drama Grey's Anatomy, is one of the most influential African–American women in the American entertainment industry. Here are some really interesting things about the American television and film writer, television producer and author:

  1. One of her first writing gigs was the 1999 TV movie entitled "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," starring Halle Berry, which went to get Berry numerous awards.
  2. She has a number of awards and honors to her name including a Golden Globe, Writer's Guild of America, Producer's Guild of America, and Director's Guild of America, but not an Emmy, though she was nominated thrice.
  3. Rhimes was named as one among the 100 People Who Help Shape the World by Time Magazine in the year 2007.
  4. She wrote the script of the "Crossroads," the debut film of pop singer Britney Spears, which received negative reviews but earned over $60 million worldwide.
  5. She made a short film titled "Blossoms and Veils," in the year 1998, starring Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jeffrey Wright, which is her only film as a director.
  6. Shonda Lynn Rhimes was born on January 13, 1970 in Chicago, Illinois, to Ilee Rhimes, Jr. and Vera P., as the youngest of six children.
  7. Her father, an MBA holder, served as the chief information officer (CIO) at the University of Southern California till the year 2013. Her mother earned her PhD in educational administration, while raising their children in the year 1991.
  8. She, at the very young age, exhibited an affinity for storytelling, while living in Park Forest South, which is now known as University Park, Illinois, with her siblings.
  9. She went to Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois, before going to Dartmouth College, earning her bachelor's degree in English and film studies in the year 1991.
  10. During her time at Marian Catholic high school, Rhimes was a hospital volunteer, which inspired her interest in hospital environments.
  11. It is reported that the most popular character of Cristina Yang in "Grey's Anatomy," was actually based on Rhimes’ best friend since the age of 10.
  12. While at Dartmouth, she joined the Black Underground Theater Association, dividing her time between directing and performing in student productions, and writing fiction, while also writing for the college newspaper.
  13. She chose to study Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television, after reading a news article that stated getting into USC’s film school was way harder than Harvard Law School.
  14. During her time at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, she ranked at the top of her USC class, and went on to earn the Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship.
  15. She was also hired by Debra Martin Chase, as an intern, and eventually went on to work at Denzel Washington's company, Mundy Lane Entertainment.
  16. Initially, while being an unemployed screenwriter, she worked at a variety of jobs including an office administrator and a counselor at a center that taught mentally ill and homeless people job skills.
  17. Rhimes published a memoir, her first book titled "Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person," in the year 2015.
  18. She worked for a few years as a film-development assistant and even as research director on the 1995 documentary, "Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream," before selling her first script.
  19. She is the founder of Shondaland in 2005, which was one of the production companies of her first series "Grey's Anatomy," following which produced Grey's spinoff "Private Practice," political drama "Scandal," and also the legal thriller "How to Get Away with Murder."
  20. In the year 2017, Shondaland launched the lifestyle website in partnership with Hearst Communications, an American mass media and business information conglomerate.
  21. According to a recent statistics, Rhimes' professional output is responsible for an estimated 70 hours of television per season.
  22. On the day of World Trade Center attack, she moved into a rental house in Vermont as a quiet place to finish a movie script. The attack prompted her to thin and reassess her future, following which she made adopting a child as her first priority.
  23. She is a mother of three kids - two adopted daughters - Harper Rhimes and Emerson Pearl Rhimes, and another daughter through surrogacy named Beckett Rhimes.
  24. She reportedly maintains two rooms across from her studio, specifically for her kids to play and enjoy while she works.
  25. She is huge fan of the spelling bee and in fact she live-blogged the Scripps National Spelling bee for several years now.
  26. In the year 2013, Rhimes and Betsy Beers, her Shondaland partner, were named co-winners of the 2014 Directors Guild of America Diversity Award.
  27. Rhimes entered into an exclusive multi-year development deal with Netflix, which will make all her future productions to be Netflix Original series, on August 14, 2017.
  28. In an attempt to stay fit and healthy for the sake of her three daughters to be for them in the years to come, she recently got into a weight loss program and managed to lose a whopping 117 pounds, despite her busy schedule.
  29. Rhimes wrote the screenplay for "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," the sequel to Disney's highly successful 2001 film "The Princess Diaries."
  30. The idea for her first and most popular series "Grey's Anatomy," was sparked by a seemingly insignificant detail from one of her conversations with a doctor, who had said that it was really difficult to shave her legs in a hospital shower. This increased her curiosity about just what went on behind the scenes for medical professionals, including their personal challenges and their demanding jobs.
  31. Shonda Rhimes Net Worth: $140 Million

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