Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

An Early Case of Stage Fright

An Early Case of Stage Fright

More From Diane

In this video

Tagged as

English on how she learned the hard way that she didn't have her mother's passion for performing.

Diane's Biography

Best Advice Received: “Don’t worry if not everyone likes you.”
Tour Guide: When preparing to write her first sitcom Foley Square, about a female Manhattan DA, English’s legal “tour guide” was then-federal prosecutor, Rudy Giuliani.
Proudest Accomplishment: Mentoring other writers.
Cause of Choice: Planned Parenthood Los Angeles

Diane English is an Emmy-winning film and television producer, director, and screenwriter. She is best known for creating the show "Murphy Brown," which ran on CBS from 1988 to 1998.
 
English was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1948. Her father was an electrician at the Niagara Mohawk Power Plant and her mother, a former singer, worked as a bookkeeper. Upon visiting New York City for the first time as a twelve-year old, English decided she was destined for life in the big city.
 
After discovering her talent for playwriting as an undergraduate at Buffalo State University, English moved to New York in 1971. She went to work for New York’s PBS station WNET, working her way up from a secretary to associate director of the station’s experimental division. In 1980, she received her first writer credit, on PBS’s first made-for-TV movie, The Lathe of Heaven, and earned a Writer’s Guild of America Award nomination.
 
Following this success, English moved to Los Angeles. Once there, English truly hit it big—first as a writer/producer for Foley Square and My Sister Sam, and soon after, as the creator of Murphy Brown. English’s work on Murphy Brown earned her an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series and two more for Outstanding Comedy Series.
 
With her former production company, English went on to produce a host of television series, including Love & War, Double Rush, and Living in Captivity. In 2008, she saw a 14-year dream come to fruition when she finished raising the money to produce the film The Women, for which she also wrote the screenplay and directed.
 
In addition to her Emmy’s, English has been honored with two Writers Guild of America Awards, a Genie Award from American Women in Radio and Television, a Freedom-to-Write-Award from PEN Center USA West, and the Commissioners’ Awards from the National Commission on Working Women for her positive portrayal of working women on television.

Related Videos

Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher
Journalist

In her junior year of college at Georgetown University, Kara Swisher became incensed with an article she read in The Washington Post. It was full of errors, even spelling mistakes,...

Sara Hurwitz
Sara Hurwitz
First Female Orthodox "Rabba"

Sara Hurwitz is the first officially ordained “Rabba,” in Orthodox Judaism. She is the Rabba at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and the Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, also...

Beverly Guy-Sheftall
Beverly Guy-Sheftall
Pioneer of Black Women's Studies

As one of the leading African-American feminist scholars of our time, Beverly Guy-Sheftall was instrumental in bringing the women’s studies movement to women of color, and th...

Lisa Leslie
Lisa Leslie
Champion Basketball Player

In 2002, Lisa Leslie became the first WNBA player to dunk a basketball. Throughout her trailblazing career, she was many firsts: the first WNBA player to win the regular season MV...