Ryan Murphy
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Writer, Director & Producer 

b. November 9, 1965

“I feel every day that everything I create—everything I do—I want it to be a risk.”

Ryan Murphy is an award-winning writer, director, and producer whose work frequently features LGBTQ characters and storylines. Among many other credits, he is the co-creator of the Emmy-winning TV series “Glee” and “American Horror Story” and the director of the films “Eat, Pray, Love” and “The Normal Heart.” 

Murphy was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. When he came out as gay at age 15, his traditional Catholic parents were unsupportive. Only his grandmother fostered his confidence.

Murphy attended Indiana University Bloomington and graduated with a degree in journalism. He performed in choral ensembles throughout his education. Those experiences helped shape his high school musical comedy-drama, “Glee.”

After working as a journalist for several leading papers, such as the Los Angeles Times and the Miami Herald, Murphy began screenwriting. His first television show, “Popular” (1999), ran for two seasons. Professional recognition came in 2003 with “Nip/Tuck,” his Emmy-nominated series exploring America’s relationship with plastic surgery. “Glee” followed in 2009. It ran for six seasons and earned Murphy his first Emmy Award. The show earned 40 nominations and won six Emmys. It inspired a concert tour, albums, games, merchandise, apps, and a film that Murphy directed. 

Murphy’s next big TV project, the anthology series “American Horror Story,” premiered in 2011. Among the most successful TV series in FX network history, it has earned more than 125 awards, including 16 Emmys. The show’s 12th season began in 2023.

Murphy’s various film credits include directing “The Normal Heart,” the award-winning TV film adaptation of Larry Kramer’s Tony-winning play about the rise of the AIDS crisis. Murphy traces his personal productivity to that era—a time when young gay men like himself, menaced by the epidemic, never knew how much time they had left. 

“Pose,” the critically acclaimed FX series Murphy co-launched in 2018, also takes place during that period. It centers on the New York drag ball culture and includes more than 50 transgender characters played by trans actors. Murphy donated his profits from the show to LGBTQ+ charities. The year before, he launched an initiative to promote inclusivity in Hollywood moviemaking. It spawned a program in which each director on his TV projects mentors a rising female or minority director. 

Murphy has been nominated for countless awards and won dozens, including six Primetime Emmys, five Golden Globes, a Tony, and a GLAAD Media Award. AmfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, honored him for his contributions to TV and film and the fight against AIDS.

Murphy lives with his husband, David Miller, and their three sons.