Born September 1, 1950, in Vinita, Oklahoma, Phillip Calvin McGraw spent most of his childhood in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. His father was an equipment supplier for the oil drilling industry. After winning a football scholarship, he played as a linebacker for the University of Tulsa, but quit after sustaining an injury. He then transferred to Midwestern State University, where in 1975, he graduated with a BA in psychology. Between 1975 and 1979, he earned two additional degrees, including a phd in clinical psychology from the University of North Texas. He is also a pilot with a multi-engine rating.
In 1996, Oprah Winfrey hired Phil McGraw to help her prepare for the Amarillo, Texas, beef lawsuit. After the trial, which ended in 1998, she invited him to appear on her show. He proved to be so popular that he became a weekly item, presenting alternative life strategies for relationships and such. In 2002, he was given his own syndicated daily television show, “Dr. Phil,” which is produced by Winfrey’s Harpo Studios.
His brand of self-help is like no other, and differs considerably from traditional psychology. It is behavior modification therapy, which calls for changing the behavior without necessarily investing the time to discover its underlying cause. His own particular stamp is a combination of his Texas accent and behavioral approach to psychological problems. Although his critics claim that his advice is simplistic at best, there is no question that the man has a pulse on human behavior. His “get real,” said in the face confrontations, often prompts positive action.
McGraw is married to Robin Jameson who is his second wife. The couple have two sons, Jay and Jordan. In 2003, he entered the weight-loss business and in 2005, he signed a five-year extension of his syndication deal with King World Productions, Inc. This will grant him a reported $15 million dollars and keep him as a television fixture through the 2014 season!
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