Former professional dancer and host Mary Murphy is best known as the “Queen of Scream” on FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” one of three talent judges (opposite Nigel Lythgoe and a revolving guest judge seat) on the freestyle dance competition. The international smash-hit show had Mary frequently traveling to countries like Australia, Canada and Norway for “Special Guest” judging appearances on international versions of the show, as contestants all over the globe vie for tickets aboard her “Hot Tamale Train!”
Mary is back for the 14th season of “SYTYCD” on FOX starting June 12th, 2017. In previous seasons, the Emmy-nominated hit show featured Mary and Nigel Lythgoe in the resident judges’ chairs, with some new faces and old favorites in the guest judge chair each week, including Jenna Dewan-Tatum (Atlanta), Billy Porter and Misty Copeland (Philadelphia), Wayne Brady (New Orleans), Jenna Elfman and Fabrice Calmels (Chicago) and Christina Applegate (Los Angeles). The season once again impressed with awe-inspiring performances and nail-biting eliminations as contestants from around the country competed to be named America’s Favorite Dancer. Throughout its 10 seasons, “SYTYCD” has received 35 Emmy Award nominations and garnered 11 Emmy wins.
In addition to her work on “SYTYCD,” Murphy is an in-demand host and personality, and has also appeared in such films as DANCE WITH ME with Vanessa Williams and the thriller KILLER MOVIE opposite Kaley Cuoco. The long list of celebrities Murphy has coached includes Dennis Quaid, Mary Steenburgen and Donnie Wahlberg; she also worked as Julia Roberts’ body double for a dancing sequence in SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT.
Beyond her career in Hollywood, Murphy continues to be one of the hardest-working women in dance, serving as a judge at major ballroom competitions across the U.S. including the recent US Latin Dance Sport Championship in Orange County, California. Murphy also offers world-class dance instruction at her San Diego-based studio, the Champion Ballroom Academy (www.championballroom.com).
Born in Lancaster, OH, Murphy spent most of her free time competing with the boys in sports like track & field, basketball, volleyball and football.
After graduating from Ohio University with a degree in Physical Education and a minor in Modern Dance, Murphy moved D.C. and became an instructor-trainee at a local studio. She soon realized that dancing was her destiny after watching The United States Ballroom Championships in New York City.
Murphy then relocated to Southern California and opened her studio. During this time, Murphy’s competitive dance career began to peak. She and longtime partner, Manfred Stiglitz, won the prestigious Austrian National Championships and made it into the top 10 in the world. Murphy’s impressive list of competitive accomplishments includes top finishes at the Southwest Regional Dance Tournament, The Saint Louis Star Ball,The International Grand Ball, and The U.S. Open.
After retiring from competition, Murphy shifted her focus to her dance studio and a future in Hollywood. She was a finalist for a judging position on “Dancing with the Stars,” but caught the eyes of the producers of “So You Think You Can Dance” instead. Murphy’s crowd-pleasing antics on SYTYCD and “Maryisms” like “Hot Tamale Train!” and “Shut Up, Coyote!” have made her a household name around the world. At the 2007 Reality TV Awards, she beat out a star-studded field including Ryan Seacrest, Carrie Ann Inaba and Donald Trump to claim the “Best Host/Judge” prize, having received three total nominations over the years
A survivor of thyroid cancer, which threatened her vocal cords, Mary is a dedicated supporter of the American Cancer Society.