Six things you probably didn't know about "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy

As a child, he wanted to be a pediatrician and found comfort in Petula Clark's song, "Downtown"

Published February 28, 2013 10:00PM (EST)

Ryan Murphy, the creator of hit shows "Glee," "New Normal" and "American Horror Story," was yesterday honored at the Paley Center for Media with the first-ever PaleyFest Icon Award. Murphy, whom Paley Center CEO Pat Mitchell called a "true innovator" and "a game changer in the medium" of television, participated in a Q&A that gave considerable insight into his long journey as a producer profiled in the Hollywood Reporter. Below are six of the most surprising things you probably didn't know about one of Hollywood's most innovative minds, from THR:

1. He originally wanted to be a pediatrician:

" 'I love babies and children and would fake ailments so my mother would take me to the doctor,' he said to laughter, later revealing that his woes in math and science led him to rethink his early game plan. That later evolved to a love of musicals in high school, where he had roles in multiple productions -- prompting him to explore attending film school. When that didn't work out -- he said he was accepted but that his parents' income was more than would have allowed him to secure a scholarship and yet not enough to afford the tuition -- he turned to journalism."

2. As a journalist, he had several run-ins with Cher:

"When I was younger, I was obsessed with celebrities," he said, recalling multiple interviews with Cher. "By the sixth time, she said, 'F---, you again?!' "

3. He transitioned to screenwriting after an interview with "Thelma and Louise" and current "Nashville" screenwriter Callie Khouri:

" 'I confided in her that I wanted to write a script and that started my journey,' he said.

That script eventually became 'Why Can't I Be Audrey Hepburn,' a romantic comedy that sold to Steven Spielberg and led to a hot streak resulting in three sales -- all based on pitches. 'I never did not work after that,' he said."

4. Journalism isn't so different from screenwriting, it turns out:

"Murphy noted his approach to journalism and writing for television is one and the same. 'It's the same energy; I ask questions -- not just of myself but in the writers' room and from that comes a discussion about how we're living today,' he said."

5. Since then, he has become a Brentwood mom:

"Murphy noted he no longer feels the need to shock audiences with racy material. 'I think I'm afraid of my child one day seeing that stuff,' he said. 'I've become a Brentwood mom!' "

6. He is inspired and calmed by Petula Clark's song "Downtown":

"'My mother has a home movie of me with a spoon -- very Rachel Berry -- singing that song,' he said. 'It's about going out and not being afraid and embracing joy and what's around the corner.' "

For more, read the full profile at THR.

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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American Horror Story Glee Hollywood Nip/tuck Ryan Murphy Television The New Normal