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Phil McGraw (American television personality) Bio, Facts. 

Phil McGraw

Born name: Phillip Calvin McGraw
Date of Birth: September 1, 1950
Place of Birth: Vinita, Oklahoma, United States
Alma mater: Midwestern State University (BA)
University of North Texas (MA, PhD)
Occupation: Television host, author, psychologist
Spouse(s): Debbie Higgins McCall(m. 1970; annulled 1973), Robin Jameson (m. 1976)
Children: Jordan McGraw, Jay McGraw
Phillip Calvin McGraw (born September 1, 1950), also known as Dr. Phil, is an American television personality, author, and former psychologist who is the host of the television show Dr. Phil. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, but he no longer practices psychology. McGraw first gained celebrity status with appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the late 1990s.

Raised in the South Central United States, McGraw played college football for the University of Tulsa and Midwestern State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. He then earned his Master of Arts in experimental psychology and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Texas. He began working in private practice for several years while also holding large seminars for patients.

McGraw's fame began in 1998, when he began making weekly appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah Winfrey then helped McGraw launch his own program, Dr. Phil, in September 2002. The show is formatted as an advice show. In October 2003, he launched the Dr. Phil Foundation which is dedicated toward fighting childhood obesity.

Early life
McGraw was born in Vinita, Oklahoma, on September 1, 1950, the son of Joseph J. McGraw Jr. and his wife, Anne Geraldine "Jerry" (née Stevens). He grew up with two older sisters, Deana and Donna, and younger sister Brenda in the oilfields of North Texas where his father was an equipment supplier. During McGraw's childhood, his family moved so his father could pursue a lifelong goal of becoming a psychologist.

McGraw attended Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kansas. In 1968, he was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Tulsa, where he played middle linebacker under coach Glenn Dobbs. On November 23 of that year, McGraw's team lost to the University of Houston 100–6, which is one of the most lopsided games in college football history. Coach Dobbs retired after that season and McGraw transferred to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Education and early career
McGraw graduated in 1975 from Midwestern State University with a B.A. in psychology. He went on to earn an M.A. in experimental psychology in 1976, and a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology in 1979 at the University of North Texas, where his dissertation was titled "Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Psychological Intervention". McGraw was guided through the doctoral program by Dr. Frank Lawlis, who later became the primary contributing psychologist for the Dr. Phil television show.

After obtaining his doctorate, McGraw joined his father, Joe McGraw, in Wichita Falls, Texas, where the elder McGraw had established his private psychology practice.

In 1983, McGraw and his father joined Thelma Box, a successful Texas businesswoman, in presenting "Pathways" seminars, "experience-based training which allows individuals to achieve and create their own results." Critics claim that many of the "phrases and the terminology and the quaint sayings" used by McGraw on the Oprah and Dr. Phil shows were coined by Box and presented by McGraw in this seminar. McGraw admits that some of the material from Life Strategies, his first best-seller, is taken directly from the Pathways seminar. However, he has never mentioned Box or her contributions to his success in any of his books or TV shows. Eight years after joining Box, McGraw signed an agreement for the sale of his Pathways seminar stock for $325,000 without notifying either his father or Box of the impending sale. Box founded her own seminars titled "Choices."

Courtroom Sciences, Inc
In 1990, McGraw co-founded Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI) with lawyer Gary Dobbs. CSI is a trial consulting firm which provides services in US litigation psychology, jury selection, trial consulting, witness training, and depositions. CSI has advised top trial lawyers, every major airline in the world, and dozens of Fortune 500 companies. McGraw is no longer an officer or director of the company.

The TV show Bull is based on McGraw's experience as a trial consultant, and he is credited as one of the creators of the series.

McGraw began working with Oprah Winfrey through CSI.

Television career
Oprah Winfrey and the Dr. Phil show
In 1995, Oprah Winfrey hired McGraw's legal consulting firm CSI to prepare her for the Amarillo Texas beef trial. Winfrey was so impressed with McGraw that she thanked him for her victory in that case, which ended in 1998. Soon after, she invited him to appear on her show. His appearance proved so successful that he began appearing weekly as a relationship and life strategy expert on Tuesdays starting in April 1998.

The next year, McGraw published his first best-selling book, Life Strategies. In the next four years, McGraw published three additional best-selling relationship books, along with workbooks to complement them.

In September 2002, McGraw formed Peteski Productions and launched his own syndicated daily television show, Dr. Phil, produced by Winfrey's Harpo Studios. Dr. Phil is an advice show, in which McGraw tackles a different topic on each show, offering advice to his guests.

He also signed a five-year extension of his syndication deal with his show's distributors, King World Productions, Inc. The deal was to pay McGraw $15 million a year and keep the show in production through the 2013–2014 television season.

Spin-off shows
In 2005, Jay McGraw and Phil McGraw then formed Stage 29 Productions, and a week later, announced a new show called Moochers (similar to ABC's Kicked Out). Ultimately, the show was not produced.

In 2006, the Dr. Phil House (similar to CBS's Big Brother) began airing as part of the Dr. Phil television show. Following a protest by neighbors, the house in Los Angeles was shut down, and production resumed on a sound stage on a studio back lot. Dr. Phil House was relaunched by Stage 29 as Decision House and aired from September through November 2007.

Ratings for the Dr. Phil show began to slide in 2007. Viewership went from 7 million in May 2007 to slightly more than 4 million by August 2008. Two weeks later, ratings for the show fell beneath the Nielsen top 12 syndicated TV shows, and McGraw dropped to 30th on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list with income of $45 million. His ranking later improved, and by 2020 he was in the 22nd spot of the same Forbes list.

Late in 2007, McGraw began promoting his 2008 Dr. Phil Show extension, The Doctors. The show is hosted by television personality and ER physician Travis Stork (The Bachelor). Other experts scheduled to appear include various personalities who have appeared on the Dr. Phil show over the years, such as Lisa Masterson, an obstetrician/gynecologist; Andrew Ordon, a plastic surgeon; and Jim Sears, a pediatrician. McGraw's eldest son, Jay McGraw, is executive producer of the show. The Doctors debuted on September 8, 2008, and, as of November 10, 2008, had a 2.0 rating. The show was renewed for its 12th season in 2019.

Controversies and lawsuits
Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (1988)
On October 21, 1988, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists determined that McGraw had hired a former patient for "part-time temporary employment". Specifically, the board cited "a possible failure to provide proper separation between termination of therapy and the initiation of employment", issued a letter of reprimand and imposed administrative penalties. The board also investigated claims made by the patient of inappropriate contact initiated by McGraw, but the "Findings of Fact" document McGraw fulfilled all terms of the board's requirements, and the board closed its complaint file in June 1990.

Licensing (1989)
McGraw no longer holds a license to practice psychology of any kind in Texas or any other state in the United States. McGraw has been involved in several controversies which put his license to practice at risk. He was brought up on ethics charges for having an inappropriate non-physical relationship with a patient in Texas in January 1989 and had a formal criminal complaint filed against him in California in 2008 for practicing psychology without a professional license or certification and violating doctor-patient confidentiality in connection with an incident with Britney Spears in 2008.

McGraw is shown to have "voluntarily surrendered" his Texas license in 2006, and he has never held a license to practice psychology in any other state, including California, since. This has led several leading clinical psychologists in California to question whether his program violates the law by offering the services of a "psychologist", despite the voluminous paperwork that his production company asks guests to sign stating that they are only receiving "advice" on the program. Practicing psychology without a license in California is a felony.

Weight loss products (2003)
In 2003, McGraw entered the weight loss business, selling shakes, energy bars, and supplements. These products were promoted on his show with his sisters Deana and Brenda and nephew Tony among the featured testimonials on the show. These products' labels, which carried the brand name "Shape It Up, Woo, Woo!", stated: "These products contain scientifically researched levels of ingredients that can help you change your behavior to take control of your weight." This met with swift criticism from various sources, accusing McGraw (a clinical psychologist, and not a physician) of lacking the expertise to recommend weight loss products. Facing a Federal Trade Commission investigation into Shape Up's claims, McGraw pulled his supplements off the market in March 2004, and the FTC dropped its probe. In October 2005, several people who used McGraw's products declared an intent to file a class action lawsuit against him, claiming that although the supplements cost $120 per month they did not stimulate weight loss. McGraw settled the suit in September 2006 for $10.5 million. Some of the settlement ($6 million) may be paid to the plaintiffs in the form of Amway (Quixtar) brand Nutrilite vitamins.

The Making of Dr. Phil unauthorized biography (2003)
The Making of Dr. Phil is an unauthorized biography by Sophia Dembling, a reporter from The Dallas Morning News, and Lisa Gutierrez, a reporter from The Kansas City Star. The book probes McGraw's history, with interviews of his childhood friends and former classmates. The book reports that McGraw allegedly used unethical business practices in a gym business early in his career, that he was allegedly abusive to his first wife and to his staff, while noting that he overcame adversity through setting goals and was persistent in achieving success. The book received no promotional help from McGraw or his associates.

Kalpoe lawsuit-dismissed (2006)
McGraw was named a co-defendant, along with CBS Television, in a 2006 lawsuit filed in relation to the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. The lawsuit was filed by Deepak Kalpoe and his brother Satish Kalpoe, who claimed that an interview they did with McGraw, aired in September 2005, was "manipulated and later broadcast as being accurate, and which portrays Deepak Kalpoe and Satish Kalpoe 'as engaging in criminal activity against Natalee Holloway and constitutes defamation.'" The Kalpoe brothers claimed invasion of privacy, fraud, deceit, defamation, emotional distress, and civil conspiracy in the suit, which was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court.

On March 17, 2015, the lawsuit against McGraw and CBS was dismissed. The court records disclosed the lawsuit by Deepak and Satish Kalpoe was rejected one week before the civil trial was set to begin.

Riccio lawsuit-dismissed (2008)
McGraw was sued by Thomas Riccio, the memorabilia collector responsible for taping the Las Vegas robbery that led to O. J. Simpson being convicted. Riccio sued McGraw in Los Angeles Superior Court for defamation, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false light for what Riccio claims to have been deceitful editing of the Dr. Phil Show on which he appeared in early October 2008. The claims of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false light were dismissed, with the judge finding that it was protected speech under the First Amendment.

Britney Spears "intervention" (2008)
In January 2008, McGraw visited pop star Britney Spears in her hospital room. The visit by McGraw drew criticism from the Spears family and from mental health professionals.

The visit appeared to be part of an attempt at getting Spears and her parents to take part in an "intervention" on the Dr. Phil television show. Immediately after the visit, McGraw issued public statements about Spears's situation that Spears's family spokeswoman Lou Taylor said violated their family trust in McGraw. "This is another example of a trust being betrayed", Taylor told Today co-host Meredith Vieira. "Rather than helping the family’s situation, the celebrity psychologist caused additional damage", she said. Several mental health care professionals criticized McGraw for his actions, but fellow television psychologist Joyce Brothers defended McGraw. It was reported that a psychologist filed a complaint with the California Board of Psychology (BOP), alleging that McGraw had practiced psychology without a license and had violated doctor-patient privilege by discussing Spears's case with the media. A copy of the complaint appeared in the media, but there is no way to verify whether or not it was actually submitted to the BOP. The BOP does not disclose that information unless an investigation is opened. Martin Greenberg, a former BOP President, said on the Today Show that this incident was not a matter that the law covers or would be concerned about.

Polk County, Florida, bail controversy (2008)
On April 13, 2008, a producer for the Dr. Phil show secured $30,000 bail for the ringleader of a group of eight teenage girls who viciously beat another girl and videotaped the attack. The teen had been booked at the Polk County, Florida, jail on charges that included kidnapping and assault. Producers of the Dr. Phil show had made plans to tape a one-hour show devoted to the incident and had sent a production assistant to Orlando to help book guests for the show, but when news broke that the Dr. Phil show producer had posted bail for the teen, the outcry caused the show to cancel their plans. "In this case certain staffers went beyond our guidelines," said Theresa Corigliano, spokesperson for the Dr. Phil show. "We have decided not to go forward with the story as our guidelines have been compromised."

Copyright case (2017)
In September 2017, McGraw won a a copyright case against a former employee who acquired a video in bad faith.

Car accident (2017)
On October 21, 2017, he was threatened with a lawsuit when he accidentally hit a skateboarder with his car.

Slippery Rock comment (2019)
In an interview with People in April 2019 regarding the ongoing college admission scandal, McGraw said the parents' activities were about wanting a status symbol for their families, saying the parents wanted children who go to Harvard, Yale, or USC "and not be the parent who says my kid goes to, uh, Slippery Rock." Many SRU alumni voiced their outrage on social media, while the university released a statement saying McGraw's educational background shows the importance of regional public universities. SRU invited McGraw to speak during the upcoming fall semester. McGraw posted an apology on Twitter, stating that he picked Slippery Rock as a random name and was unaware it is an actual university.

COVID-19 lockdown comment (2020)
In 2020 McGraw was criticized for saying on Fox News that quarantines can have damaging psychological effects. In reciting a lost of numbers, he misquoted the number of swimming pool deaths as 360,000, when the correct number is about 36,000.

Approach to psychology
McGraw's advice and methods have drawn criticism from some fellow psychotherapists as well as from some laypeople. McGraw's critics regard advice given by him to be at best simplistic and at worst ineffective. The National Alliance on Mental Illness called McGraw's conduct in one episode of his television show "unethical" and "incredibly irresponsible". McGraw said in a 2001 South Florida newspaper interview that he never liked traditional one-on-one counseling, and that "I'm not the Hush-Puppies, pipe and 'Let's talk about your mother' kind of psychologist."

Charitable foundation
McGraw announced the formation of the Dr. Phil Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood obesity, on October 22, 2003. The foundation also supports charitable organizations that help address the emotional, spiritual, and monetary needs of children and families.

Personal life
McGraw married his first wife, an ex-cheerleader and homecoming queen named Debbie Higgins McCall, in 1970, when he was 20 years old. According to her, McGraw was domineering and would not allow her to participate in the family business. She claimed that she was confined to domestic duties and instructed to begin lifting weights to improve her bustline.

During the process of annulling the marriage in 1973, McGraw met and began dating Robin Jo Jameson, whom he married in 1976. The couple have two children together, Jay McGraw and Jordan McGraw.

McGraw is also a private pilot, with an instrument rating, flying single-engine airplanes. McGraw has identified himself as a Christian.

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