Ryan Patrick Murphy (born November 30, 1965)[1] is an American screenwriter, director and producer. Murphy is best known for creating/co-creating/producing a number of television series including Popular (1999–2001), Nip/Tuck (2003–10), Glee (2009–15), American Horror Story (2011–present), The New Normal (2012–13), Scream Queens (2015–present), American Crime Story (2016–present), and Feud (2017).

Early Life

Murphy grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana in an Irish Catholic family. He attended Catholic school from first through eighth grade, and graduated from Warren Central High School in Indianapolis. He has described his mother J. Andy Murphy 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.

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." During a 2012 interview on Inside the Actors Studio, Murphy claimed that he secretly dated "a lot of football players" in high school. He performed with a choir as a child, which would later inform his work on Glee. 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 began working as a journalist for The Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Knoxville News Sentinel and Entertainment Weekly. He began script-writing in the late 1990s, when Steven Spielberg purchased his script Why Can't I Be Audrey Paudry?.

Murphy started his career in television with the teen comedy series Popular, which he co-created with Gina Matthews. The series premiered on The WB on September 29, 1999 and ran for two seasons, ending in 2001. He then created the FX drama series Nip/Tuck, which premiered on July 18, 2003. In 2004, Murphy earned his first Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. 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. The series ended after six seasons in 2010.

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.

On May 19, 2009, Murphy's musical comedy-drama series, Glee, premiered on Fox. He co-created the series with Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. In its early seasons, the show was critically lauded. Murphy won his first Primetime Emmy Award for directing the pilot episode. The series concluded in 2015, following its sixth season. Murphy was also one of four executive producers on the reality television series The Glee Project, which premiered on Oxygen on June 12, 2011. The show featured a group of contestants vying for the prize of a seven-episode arc on Glee, with someone being eliminated each week, until the winner is chosen in the final episode. The show was renewed for a second season, which ended up being its last.

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.

Murphy and Glee co-executive producer Ali Adler created the half-hour comedy The New Normal, which premiered on NBC on September 10, 2012. The series was based on Murphy's own experiences of having a child via surrogate, with the main characters, Bryan and David, named for Ryan and his husband. The series was ultimately cancelled after one season. Murphy next directed the 2014 television film adaptation of Larry Kramer's Broadway play The Normal Heart, starring Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Matt Bomer, and Jim Parsons. 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 (2014).

Murphy and Falchuk also created the anthology series American Horror Story, which premiered on FX on October 5, 2011. Some of the same cast has played different characters in a different setting each subsequent season. In October 2014, FX greenlit a companion anthology series, American Crime Story, which Murphy and Falchuk executive produce. The series premiered on February 2, 2016. Murphy, Falchuk, and Brennan next co-created the comedy-horror semi-anthology series Scream Queens, which premiered on Fox on September 22, 2015. In 2017, Murphy's next project, the drama anthology series Feud, will premiere on FX. The first season focuses on Bette Davis and Joan Crawford's rivalry on the set of their film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. In March 2017, it was announced that Murphy had started working on a new 1980's drama series called Pose.

Personal Life

Murphy grew up in a Catholic household and continues to go to church. He serves on the National Advisory Board of the Young Storytellers Foundation. Murphy has been married to photographer David Miller since July 2012. On December 24, 2012, Murphy and Miller welcomed their first child, a son named Logan Phineas, via a surrogate. In October 2014, they welcomed their second son, Ford.



  • In October 2015, Murphy received the Award of Inspiration from the Foundation for AIDS Research for his contributions to TV and film, as well as his work in the fight against AIDS.
  • Murphy has created/produced a couple of failed pilots, such as the WB sitcom pilot St. Sass, the FX pilot Pretty/Handsome, and the HBO sexuality drama Open.
  • He is famous for getting in touch directly with the actors he admires and wants to cast, proposing characters and assuring he would tailor them if needed.
  • He once owned a house designed by renowned mid-century modern architect Carl Maston.
  • He was the president of the Meryl Streep fan club in high school.
  • 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 the Kings of Leon lead singer and drummer, stemming from the musicians declining Murphy when asked to have their music covered on Glee.

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