Shonda Lynn Rhimes[1] is an executive producer on How to Get Away with Murder.


Early Life

Rhimes was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Vera P. (Cain), a university administrator, and Ilee Rhimes, Jr., a college professor.[2] Her mother attended college while raising six children and earned a Ph.D. in educational administration in 1991; her father, who holds an MBA, was the chief information officer at the University of Southern California until 2013.[3] Rhimes lived in Park Forest South (now University Park, Illinois), with two older brothers and three older sisters. She has said she exhibited an early affinity for storytelling[4] and that her time spent as a hospital volunteer while in high school sparked an interest in hospital environments.[5] Rhimes attended Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois, before enrolling at Dartmouth College, where she majored in English and film studies and earned her bachelor's degree in 1991. At Dartmouth, she joined the Black Underground Theater Association and divided her time between directing and performing in student productions, and fiction.[6]


After graduation, Rhimes found herself an unemployed scriptwriter in Hollywood.[7] To make ends meet, Rhimes worked at a variety of day jobs, including an office administrator, and then a counselor at a job center that taught mentally ill and homeless people job skills. During this period, Rhimes worked as research director on the 1995 Peabody Award-winning documentary, Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream (1995).[8] In 1998 Rhimes made a short film, Blossoms and Veils, starring Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jeffrey Wright, which is her only credit as a director. A feature script Rhimes wrote was purchased by New Line Cinema. This was soon followed by an assignment to co-write the acclaimed 1999 HBO movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. It earned numerous awards for its star, Halle Berry. In 2001, Rhimes wrote Crossroads, the debut film of pop singer Britney Spears.[9] Despite being panned by critics, the film grossed over $60 million worldwide.[10] She then moved on to Disney’s sequel to its popular 2001 movie The Princess Diaries. Though 2004's The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004) did not score at the box office like its predecessor, Rhimes later said that she treasured the experience if for nothing else – the opportunity to work with its star, Julie Andrews. In 2003, Rhimes wrote her first pilot, about young female globe-trotting war correspondents, for ABC, but the network turned it down.[11]

In December 2013, it was announced that ABC had ordered to pilot the ShondaLand production How to Get Away with Murder.[12] Actress Viola Davis joined the cast as the lead character in February 2014.[13] It was officially picked up to series on May 8, 2014.[14] Rhimes appeared as herself in the 5th episode of Season 3 of The Mindy Project, which aired October 14, 2014. In 2015, Rhimes developed a pilot called The Catch, based on the Kate Atkinson novel, which columnist Cindy Elavsky described as a "thriller ... about a woman who is about to get married ... and about to get conned." Mireille Enos stars. The show got picked up by ABC and premiered Thursday March 24, 2016, at 10 pm, taking over How to Get Away with Murder's time-slot after the show ended its second season.[15] In March 2016, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Grey's Anatomy were respectively picked up for their sixth, third and thirteenth seasons, and will air during the 2016-2017 season.


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