Top 100 - 2011

Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy has an undeniable knack for creating television shows about topics that, at first, seem unlikely to be of mass appeal. Plastic surgery? A high school show choir? They may not sound that enthralling in theory, but in practice, under Murphy’s direction, they have proven to be goldmines.

Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN, Murphy is the creator of the hit series Nip/Tuck and the co-creator, along with Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, of the current Fox smash Glee. Murphy co-writes each episode and alternates directing with Falchuk. Reaching back to his roots as a show choir member at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, Murphy also selects the music for each episode, striking a perfect balance between Broadway classics, oldies, and contemporary chart-toppers. He is notorious for his biting and witty comebacks to artists who refuse to give the show rights to perform their music.

The show has received praise for honestly and (for the most part) realistically dealing with identity, social standing and sexuality – issues central to any high school experience. Part of the inspiration for this lies in Murphy’s own experience of realizing, during high school, that he was gay and subsequently coming out. For the part two years, Glee has won the Golden Globe for Best Television Series. In 2010, Murphy won the Emmy award for Best Direction of a Comedy.

Murphy was raised by an Irish Catholic family. After college, he worked as a journalist at The Miami Herald, The New York Daily News, The Los Angeles Times, and Entertainment Weekly. He began scriptwriting in the late 1990s, when his first screenplay, Why Can’t I Be Audrey Hepburn?, was bought by Stephen Spielberg. His television career began with the high school drama Popular, which aired on the WB for two seasons from 1999 to 2001. In 2006, Murphy wrote and directed an adaptation of Augusten Burrough’s Running With Scissors. Last year he directed the adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts.