Dr. Phil, born Phillip Calvin McGraw on September 1, 1950, got his big break as a consulting psychologist on Oprah Winfrey’s T.V. series, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in the late 1990s. Since then, he has become one of the most famous names in the world of psychology and continues to make the big bucks with guest appearances on a variety of reality and fictional T.V. shows. In addition to having practiced psychology, he is also a published author, having written four books about relationship advice. Celebrate his birthday here with us!
Dr. Phil is most well recognized for his work in psychology with his hit T.V. show, “Dr. Phil”, having over 18 million viewers. Dr. Phil was born in Vinita, Oklahoma. His father, Joseph, was an equipment supplier in the oil fields of North Texas before he became a psychologist, inspiring his son to follow in his footsteps. McGraw is the only son and he grew up with three sisters, Donna, Deana, and Brenda. After finishing high school, he studied at the University of Tulsa and transferred to Midwestern State University where he got his undergraduate degree in psychology in 1975. He then obtained his Master’s degree in psychology in 1976 and, in 1979, he earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in psychology from the University of North Texas, officially giving him the title of ‘Dr’. He then did a year of post-doctoral training at the Wilmington Institute, specializing in forensic psychology. After completing his studies, he began practicing psychology with his father at his father’s private practice.
A few years later, McGraw co-founded a legal consulting firm, Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (C.S.I.). The firm has provided services for major airlines, Fortune 500 companies, and top trial lawyers. It was during his time with the firm that he met daytime T.V. legend, Oprah Winfrey. She was preparing for a trial against the Texas Beef Group that alleged she had spread misinformation about the beef industry on her show. Winfrey took an instant liking to McGraw and he appeared as a guest on “The Oprah Winfrey” show for the first time in 1998. She then hired him to appear on the show every week in his capacity as a life strategy and relationship expert. A year later, he published his first book about relationships entitled “Life Strategies.”
In 2002, McGraw’s reality T.V. show, “Dr. Phil”, debuted — for which he would gain global fame. On the show, he interviewed a wide variety of guests and gave them advice based on his studies and experience as a clinical psychologist. A year later, he ventured into the weight-loss and supplement industry. He joined the company Shape Up as a promoter and endorser of the company’s products. In 2006, he stopped renewing his license to practice clinical psychology as the California Board of Psychology determined he didn’t need one for his work as the host of Dr. Phil as his role on the show was as an entertainer rather than a therapist. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2020.
He is awarded his Ph.D. in clinical psychology and earns the title of ‘Dr.’
After assisting Winfrey with her court case, he makes his first appearance on her show.
His book about relationship advice, “Life Strategies,” is published through Hyperion Books.
After regularly appearing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for four years, his T.V. show (produced by Oprah Winfrey’s production company Harpo Studios) debuts.
The California Board of Psychology rules that he doesn’t need one for his T.V. show because it’s entertainment, not clinical practice.
He receives the coveted star five years after being inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
Why We Love Dr. Phil
He has a charity
The T.V. show host established the Dr. Phil Foundation to support destitute children and their parents. The foundation also works to reduce rates of childhood obesity.
He’s donated thousands to homeless programs
He once interviewed a man who abused homeless people and kicked him off the show during taping. He then decided to donate $25,000 to various organizations to assist homeless people.
He’s made great contributions to psychology
He received the Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association (A.P.A.) for raising awareness about mental health issues. The A.P.A. justified his selection saying he has done “more [for] Americans than any other living psychologist.”
5 Surprising Facts
He was on the “Forbes” Celebrity 100 list
In 2006, he was listed as number 22 on the list as a result of his $45 million income.
He’s done multiple T.V. show cameos
He has appeared as himself on multiple T.V. shows including “Frasier,” “Sesame Street,” “The Simpsons,” and “Hannah Montana.”
He doesn’t drink alcohol
Many of McGraw’s family members struggle with alcoholism and consequently choose not to drink alcohol.
He played football in college
He played the position of middle linebacker during his time at the University of Tulsa, for which he received a scholarship.
His oldest son followed in his footsteps
McGraw’s son, Jay, has published books about life advice and weight loss.
Dr. Phil FAQs
Do guests on “Dr. Phil” get paid to appear on the show?
No, only their accommodation is paid for and they receive a stipend for their time.
Did Dr. Phil have a stroke?
Yes. In 2019, he suffered an injury that caused a clot in his carotid artery, which traveled to his brain.
Where do “Dr. Phil” guests stay?
In the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood.
Dr. Phil’s birthday dates