Diane English

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Diane English
Diane English on set of THE WOMEN.jpg
Diane English on the set of The Women
Born Buffalo, New York, US
Occupation Director, writer and producer
Spouse(s) Joel Shukovsky (1977–2010)

Diane English is an American screenwriter, producer and director, best known for creating the television show Murphy Brown and writing and directing the 2008 feature film, The Women.

Early life[edit]

English was born in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Anne and Richard English, who was an electrical engineer.[1] She graduated from Nardin Academy in Buffalo, New York, and then from Buffalo State College in 1970.

Television and film Career[edit]

English began her career at WNET, the PBS affiliate in New York City, working first as a story editor for The Theatre in America series, and then as associate director of TV Lab. From 1977 to 1980, she wrote a monthly column on television for Vogue magazine.


In 1980, she co-wrote PBS' The Lathe of Heaven, an adaptation of Ursula K. LeGuin's classic science fiction novel of the same name, and received her first Writers Guild Award Nomination. She followed that with the television movies Her Life as a Man for NBC (1984) and Classified Love for CBS (1986).

In 1985, English created her first half-hour comedy series, Foley Square, which aired on CBS during the 1985-1986 television season. It starred Margaret Colin, Hector Elizondo , Michael Lembeck, and Jon Lovitz. During the 1986 and 1987 seasons, she executive produced and wrote the CBS comedy series My Sister Sam, starring Pam Dawber.

Murphy Brown

In 1988, she created the CBS television series, Murphy Brown, for which she won three Emmy Awards (one for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series and two for Outstanding Comedy Series). The series ran from 1988 to 1998 for a total of 247 episodes. It garnered 62 Emmy nominations and 18 wins. In 1992, English stirred up controversy when the title character decided to have a child out of wedlock. Vice president Dan Quayle voiced his disapproval of this decision, stating that Murphy was "mocking the importance of fathers and calling it just another lifestyle choice." English responded with a statement that read: "If the vice president thinks it's disgraceful for an unmarried woman to bear children, and if he believes that a woman cannot adequately raise a child without a father, then he'd better make sure abortion remains safe and legal." This touched off a firestorm of debate over the meaning of "family values" during an election year in which Bill Clinton and Al Gore ran against George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle, ultimately denying them a second term.


English also created the comedy series Love & War (1992–1995) for CBS which starred Susan Dey and Jay Thomas - Annie Potts replaced Dey after the first season. Other series she co-created and/or executive produced include Double Rush(1995), Ink (1996), and The Louie Show starring Louie Anderson (1996) for CBS, and Living in Captivity (1998) for FOX.


In 2008, English wrote, produced and directed The Women, her feature film debut. The comedy, a remake of the 1939 George Cukor film of the same name, stars Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, and Jada Pinkett Smith. It was released to mixed reviews but tripled its budget worldwide.[2] That same year English and the ensemble cast of The Women were honored with the Women in Film Crystal award.[3]


3 Emmy Awards, 8 Nominations

2 Writers Guild Awards, 5 Nominations

The Golden Globe Award for Best Comedy Series

The George Foster Peabody Award

American Women in Radio and Television's Genie Award

The Freedom-to-Write-Award from PEN Center USA West

The Women in Film Crystal Award

2011 Paddy Chayefsky Award from the Writers Guild of America


  1. ^ "Diane English Biography (1948-)". Filmreference.com. 1992-11-23. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  2. ^ Michael Fleming (2007-09-19). "Femmes front 'Women' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media". Variety. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  3. ^ "Leading ladies set for Crystal+Lucy Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. 2008-04-17. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 

External links[edit]