Ryan Murphy
Murphy in 2012
Murphy in 2012
BornRyan Patrick Murphy
(1965-11-09) November 9, 1965 (age 58)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
  • Television writer
  • director
  • producer
Alma materIndiana University Bloomington
Years active1999–present
David Miller
(m. 2012)

Ryan Patrick Murphy (born November 9, 1965) is an American television writer, director, and producer. He has created and produced a number of television series including Nip/Tuck (2003–2010), Glee (2009–2015), American Horror Story (2011–present), American Crime Story (2016–present), Pose (2018–2021), 9-1-1 (2018–present), 9-1-1: Lone Star (2020–present), Ratched (2020), American Horror Stories (2021–present), and Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022).

Murphy has also directed the 2006 film adaptation of Augusten Burroughs' memoir Running with Scissors, the 2010 film adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir Eat, Pray, Love, the 2014 film adaptation of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart, and the 2020 film adaptation of the musical The Prom.

Murphy has received six Primetime Emmy Awards from 38 nominations, a Tony Award from two nominations, and two Grammy Award nominations. He has often been described as "the most powerful man" in modern television and signed the largest development deal in television history with Netflix.[1][2] Murphy is noted for having created a shift in inclusive storytelling that "brought marginalised characters to the masses".[3]

Early life

Murphy was born on November 9, 1965, in Indianapolis, Indiana,[4] where he was raised in a Catholic family.[5] His ancestry includes Irish and Danish.[6][7][8] He attended Catholic school from first through eighth grade,[5] 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.[9]

After coming out as gay at age 15, Murphy saw his first therapist, who found nothing wrong with him other than being "too precocious for his own good".[5][9] During a 2012 interview on Inside the Actors Studio, Murphy claimed that he secretly dated "a lot of football players" in high school.[10] He performed with a choir as a child, which would later inform his work on Glee.[5]

Murphy attended Indiana University Bloomington, where he majored in journalism and was a member of the Singing Hoosiers vocal ensemble.[4] He interned at The Washington Post in 1986. He was placed in the style section.[11]


1990–2008: Popular and Nip/Tuck

Murphy started as a journalist working for The Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Knoxville News Sentinel and Entertainment Weekly. He began scriptwriting in the late 1990s, when Steven Spielberg purchased his script Why Can't I Be Audrey Hepburn?.[9]

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,[12] and ran for two seasons, ending in 2001. During the time, his production company Ryan Murphy Productions signed a deal with Warner Bros. Television.[13] 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.[9] 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.

2009–2017: Glee and American Horror Story

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.[14] Murphy won his first Primetime Emmy Award for directing the pilot episode.[15] The series concluded in 2015 following its sixth season.[16] Murphy was one of four executive producers on the reality television series The Glee Project, which premiered on Oxygen on June 12, 2011.[17] 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.[18] Murphy was openly critical of several prominent bands for not releasing music for use in Glee, for which he subsequently apologized.[19]

In 2010, Murphy directed 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.[20]

Murphy and Falchuk created the anthology series American Horror Story, which premiered on FX on October 5, 2011. Most of the same cast have played different characters in different settings each subsequent season.[21][22]

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.[23] The series was ultimately cancelled after one season.[24]

Murphy next directed the 2014 television film adaptation of Larry Kramer's Broadway play The Normal Heart.[25] Murphy then collaborated with The Normal Heart executive producer Jason Blum to produce a metasequel to the cult-classic horror film The Town That Dreaded Sundown.[26] The film was the directorial debut of Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and was also released in 2014. 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.[27]

Murphy, Falchuk and Brennan next co-created the comedy-horror series Scream Queens, which premiered on Fox on September 22, 2015.[28] The series was cancelled after two seasons.[29][30]

Murphy's next project, the drama anthology series Feud, premiered on FX in 2017. The first season focused on the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford on the set of their 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.[31]

2018–present: 9-1-1, Pose and Netflix productions

In 2018, Murphy co-created the police procedural drama 9-1-1 and also served as its director, writer and executive producer.

With newcomer Steven Canals, Murphy and Falchuk launched a new series, Pose, set in the Ball community in mid-1980s New York City. Murphy had wanted to adapt Paris Is Burning as a series[32] and Canals had been writing a script while at graduate school centered on a young African American teen made homeless for being gay, who moved to New York with dreams of going to dance school and who became adopted by a House mother.[33] Joining Canals, Murphy and Falchuk in the writing room were Our Lady J and Janet Mock, who Murphy also encouraged to direct an episode,[32] making her the first trans woman of colour to do so, as well as the first trans woman of colour in a TV series writing room.[32]

The series premiered on FX on June 3, 2018, attracting critical acclaim.[34][35] The first season boasted the largest cast of transgender actors ever for a scripted network series, with over 50 transgender characters all played by trans actors.[36][37] On July 12, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a second season, which premiered in 2019.[38]

In May 2018, ahead of the Pose premiere, Murphy announced that he would donate all of his profits from the series to charitable organizations working with LGBT people, tweeting different non-profits including Sylvia Rivera Law Project,[39] Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund,[40] and Callen-Lorde Community Health Center[41] telling Variety that: "The thing that struck me in talking to so many of them, was how much they've struggled, how under attack they feel, how many of them find it difficult getting healthcare, and finding jobs. I just decided I need to do more than just making a show for this community. I want to reach out and help this community."[42]

In 2018, Netflix signed Murphy for a development deal with compensation of $300 million over a period of five years.[43][44]

In September 2019, The Politician was released on Netflix to generally positive reviews. The series was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and renewed for a second season, which was released in mid-2020. Murphy then co-created the 9-1-1 spin-off series 9-1-1: Lone Star, which premiered on Fox in January 2020.

In May 2020, Murphy's period miniseries Hollywood was released to mixed reviews. Murphy served as co-creator, writer and director for the series. In June 2020, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, Queerty named him among the fifty heroes "leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people".[45][46]

Murphy co-created, with Ian Brennan, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, a ten-part miniseries that premiered on Netflix in September 2022.[47] The series took the #1 spot on Netflix in the first week of its release.[48]

In the media

(l-r) Governor appointee Don Norte, Murphy, and Norte's husband, gay activist Kevin Norte, at Spring Time GLAAD 2010's charitable event in Century City, Los Angeles, California.

In October 2015, Murphy received the Award of Inspiration from amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research for his contributions to TV and film as well as his work in the fight against AIDS.[49]

In 2017, Murphy launched the Half Initiative, which aims to make Hollywood more inclusive by creating equal opportunities for women and minorities behind the camera. Less than one year after launching Half, Ryan Murphy Television's director slate hired 60% women directors and 90% met its women and minority requirement. In conjunction with the hiring goals, the Initiative launched the Half-Director Mentorship Program in which every director on every Ryan Murphy Television production mentors emerging women and minority directors through pre-production and post-production along with offering a significant stipend for their commitment. Filmmaker Kristin Fairweather, the first recipient of a HALF award, described her experience in an interview with Screen Comment's Rudy Cecera.[50]

Unproduced projects

Murphy has also created and produced various unsuccessful television pilots. The WB sitcom pilot St. Sass, starring Delta Burke and Heather Matarazzo, was not picked up. In 2008, Murphy wrote and directed the FX pilot Pretty/Handsome, which also was not picked up.[51] By April 2013, HBO had given a pilot order for Murphy's sexuality drama Open, which began filming in late 2013.[52] By September 2014, HBO had opted not to proceed to series.[53]

Murphy also had several films in development: Dirty Tricks, a political comedy, One Hit Wonders, a musical comedy, and a sequel to The Normal Heart. In 2014, Murphy was developing a feature film of the life of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark, based on the best-selling book Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune. There has been no development on these films since their announcement.

Personal life

While Murphy grew up in a Catholic household, he is “done with the Church", having left it; however he still occasionally goes to church.[5][54] He serves on the National Advisory Board of Young Storytellers. He once owned a house designed by renowned mid-century modern architect Carl Maston.[55]

In an interview about his show Pose, which is set in 1987, during the height of the initial AIDS crisis, Murphy described his concern about contracting HIV while at college, getting tested frequently even when celibate.[56]

Murphy has been married to photographer David Miller since July 2012.[57] They have three sons born via surrogacy.[58]

In October 2023, following the outbreak of the 2023 Israel-Hamas War in Gaza, Murphy was one of the signatories of an open letter supporting the Israeli military, published by the pro-Israel organization Creative Community For Peace.[59]



Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1999 The Furies No Yes No Short film
2006 Running with Scissors Yes Yes Yes
2010 Eat Pray Love Yes Yes No
2011 Glee: The 3D Concert Movie No No Yes documentary concert film
2014 The Town That Dreaded Sundown No No Yes
2020 Circus of Books No No Yes documentary
2020 A Secret Love No No Yes documentary
2020 The Boys in the Band No No Yes
2020 The Prom Yes No Yes
2021 Pray Away No No Yes documentary
2022 Mr. Harrigan's Phone No No Yes


Numbers in directing and writing credits refer to number of episodes.

Year Title Credited as Network Notes
Creator Director Writer Executive
1999–2001 Popular Yes Yes (2) Yes (17) Yes The WB
2003–2010 Nip/Tuck Yes Yes (8) Yes (24) Yes FX
2009–2015 Glee Yes Yes (8) Yes (31) Yes Fox
2011–present American Horror Story Yes Yes (3) Yes (19) Yes FX Anthology
2012–2013 The New Normal Yes Yes (4) Yes (5) Yes NBC
2014 The Normal Heart No Yes No Yes HBO TV movie
2015–2016 Scream Queens Yes Yes (1) Yes (8) Yes Fox
2016–present American Crime Story No Yes (7) No Yes FX Anthology
2017–present Feud Yes Yes (3) Yes (2) Yes
2018–present 9-1-1 Yes No Yes (3) Yes Fox /ABC
2018–2021 Pose Yes Yes (3) Yes (7) Yes FX
2019–2020 The Politician Yes Yes (1) Yes (7) Yes Netflix
2020–present 9-1-1: Lone Star Yes No Yes (1) Yes Fox
2020 Hollywood Yes Yes (1) Yes (6) Yes Netflix Miniseries
Ratched Yes Yes (2) No Yes
2021 Halston No No Yes (4) Yes Miniseries
2021–present American Horror Stories Yes No Yes (2) Yes FX on Hulu Anthology
2022–present Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story Yes No Yes (4) Yes Netflix
2022–present The Watcher Yes Yes (2) Yes (6) Yes
TBA American Sports Story TBA TBA TBA Yes Anthology
TBA Dr. Odyssey TBA TBA Yes Yes ABC Medical

Unsold TV pilots

Year Title Director Writer Executive
2002 St. Sass Yes No Yes
2008 Pretty/Handsome Yes Yes Yes
2014 Open Yes Yes Yes

Non-fiction TV series

Year Title Director Producer Notes
2011–12 The Glee Project No Executive Reality series
2014 American Horror Story Freak Show: Extra-Ordinary-Artists Yes No
2016 Inside Look: The People v. O.J. Simpson – American Crime Story No Yes
2017 Inside Look: Feud – Bette and Joan No Executive
2017–18 Inside Look: The Assassination of Gianni Versace – American Crime Story No Executive
2022 The Andy Warhol Diaries No Executive Limited docuseries[60]

Awards and nominations


Murphy has won two British Academy Television Awards as a producer.[61][62]

Year Category Nominated work Result
2017 Best International Programme The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
2023 Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story Won

Dorian Awards

The Dorian Awards are given by GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics and are named in homage to The Picture of Dorian Gray author Oscar Wilde. This truncated list only includes Murphy's individual Dorian nominations and wins. Several of his productions, such as Glee and The Normal Heart, have also been honored by the group.[63][64][65][66]

Year Category Nominated work Result
2013 Wilde Artist of the Year Won
2015 TV Director of the Year The Normal Heart Nominated
2019 Wilde Artist of the Year Won
2020 Wilde Artist of the Decade Nominated

Emmy Awards

Murphy has won 6 Primetime Emmy Awards out of 38 nominations[67] as a producer, writer and director.

Year Category Nominated work Result
2004 Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Nip/Tuck Nominated
2010 Outstanding Comedy Series Glee Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Won
2011 Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
2012 Outstanding Miniseries or Movie American Horror Story Nominated
Outstanding Main Title Design Nominated
2013 Outstanding Miniseries or Movie American Horror Story: Asylum Nominated
Outstanding Main Title Design Nominated
2014 Outstanding Television Movie The Normal Heart Won
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
Outstanding Limited Series American Horror Story: Coven Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
2015 Outstanding Limited Series American Horror Story: Freak Show Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
Outstanding Main Title Design Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series American Horror Story: Extra-Ordinary Artists Nominated
2016 Outstanding Limited Series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series Inside Look: The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
2017 Outstanding Limited Series Feud: Bette and Joan Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
Outstanding Main Title Design Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series Feud: Bette and Joan: Inside Look Nominated
2018 Outstanding Limited Series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Won
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Won
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story: America's Obsessions Nominated
2019 Outstanding Drama Series Pose Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series Pose: Identity, Family, Community (Inside Look) Nominated
2020 Pose: Identity, Family, Community Nominated
2021 Outstanding Drama Series Pose Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series Pose: Identity, Family, Community Nominated
Outstanding Music Supervision Halston Nominated
2022 Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series The Andy Warhol Diaries Nominated
2023 Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story Nominated

Golden Globe Awards

The Golden Globe Awards are awarded annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizing excellence in film, both American and international, and American television. Murphy has won one award as a producer.[68]

Year Category Nominated work Result
2014 Best Miniseries or Television Film American Horror Story: Coven Nominated
2015 The Normal Heart Nominated
2016 American Horror Story: Hotel Nominated
2017 The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
2018 Feud: Bette and Joan Nominated
2023 Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story Nominated
Carol Burnett Award Honoured[69]

Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States. Murphy has been nominated for two awards as a producer.

Year Category Nominated work Result
2011 Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Visual Media Glee: The Music, Volume 1 Nominated
2012 Glee: The Music, Volume 4 Nominated

Tony Awards

Murphy has won one Tony Award out of two nominations as a producer.

Year Category Nominated work Result
2016 Best Revival of a Play Long Day's Journey Into Night Nominated
2019 The Boys in the Band Won

Frequent collaborators

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Throughout Murphy's various film and television projects, he had worked with various actors and actresses repeatedly. This includes Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Billy Porter, Darren Criss, and Andrew Rannells among many others.

Frequent actor collaborations (2 or more projects)
American Horror Story
The New Normal
Scream Queens
American Crime Story
The Politician
9-1-1: Lone Star
American Horror Stories
The Watcher
American Sports Story
Total roles (in different shows)
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John Stamos Does not appear Carl Howell Does not appear Brice Brock Holt Does not appear 3
Dijon Talton Does not appear Matt Rutherford Does not appear Police Officer[k] Does not appear 2
Barbara Tarbuck Does not appear Mrs. Declan Nancy Bletheim Mother Superior Claudia[n] Does not appear 3
Russell Tovey Does not appear Patrick Read[h] Does not appear John O'Shea[r] Does not appear 2
Michael Benjamin Washington Does not appear Tracy Pendergrass Does not appear Trevor Briggs Does not appear 2
Naomi Watts Does not appear Babe Paley Does not appear Nora Brannock Does not appear 2
Finn Wittrock Does not appear
Does not appear Jeffery Trail[j] Does not appear Edmund Tolleson Does not appear 3
Alison Wright Does not appear Pauline Jameson[g] Does not appear Ms. Roswell Does not appear 2

Footnotes for collaboration table


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  29. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth; Birnbaum, Debra (May 15, 2017). "Scream Queens Officially Canceled at Fox After Two Seasons". Variety. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  30. ^ Swift, Andy (May 15, 2017). "Scream Queens Cancelled at Fox". TVLine. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  31. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 5, 2016). "FX Orders Ryan Murphy Anthology Series Feud, Jessica Lange & Susan Sarandon To Star In First Installment: Crawford v Davis". Deadline Hollywood.
  32. ^ a b c Marine, Brooke (July 7, 2018). "Janet Mock's Pose Directorial Debut Proves She's a Natural Behind the Camera". Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  33. ^ Hankinson, Bobby (July 20, 2018). "Pose Series Creator Steven Canals Discusses How 2018's Best New Show Came To Be". Towleroad. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
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  37. ^ "New Ryan Murphy Musical Dance Series Pose Gets Full Season Order". Broadway World. December 27, 2017. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  38. ^ Otterson, Joe (July 12, 2018). "Pose Renewed for Season 2 at FX". Variety. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  39. ^ Nilles, Billy (May 9, 2018). "Ryan Murphy Announces 100 Percent of His Pose Profits Will Be Donated to LBGTQ Charities". E! Online. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  40. ^ Murphy, Ryan [@MrRPMurphy] (May 17, 2018). "POSE GIVES BACK ORG OF THE DAY: Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. Their mission is to end discrimination and achieve equality for transgender people, particularly those in the most vulnerable communities. http://www.transgenderlegal.org" (Tweet). Retrieved November 20, 2018 – via Twitter.
  41. ^ Murphy, Ryan [@MrRPMurphy] (May 15, 2018). "POSE GIVES BACK ORG OF THE DAY: Callen-Lorde. This organization is the global leader in LGBTQ healthcare. Since Stonewall, they've been transforming lives free of judgment and regardless of ability to pay with the belief that healthcare is a human right" (Tweet). Retrieved November 20, 2018 – via Twitter.
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