Phoef Sutton started as an actor and playwright in college; he was lucky enough to go to a small liberal arts college in Virginia, James Madison University, which encouraged student playwrights. Phoef was one of the only undergraduates to win the Norman Lear Award for Comedy Playwriting. After graduation, Phoef had plays produced at various regional theaters around the country, had his award winning play BURIAL CUSTOMS selected for publication by the Theatre Communications Group and was awarded a National Endowment for Arts Playwrights Fellowship.
After marrying and moving to Los Angeles, Phoef started his career at the NBC television show CHEERS. He stayed with the show for eight years, working his way up from staff writer to executive producer, winning two Emmys and a Writer’s Guild Award. A greater training ground for a writer could not be imagined.
After CHEERS, Phoef has produced and created a number of television shows and consulted on others, including NEWSRADIO and BOSTON LEGAL. He is honored to have won a Peabody Award, a GLAAD award and a Television Academy Honors award for this work on BOSTON LEGAL. He has worked on critically acclaimed series TERRIERS for FX and THE SOUL MAN for TV Land and DEFIANCE for the SyFy Channel.
A particular favorite of his is the cult comedy THANKS, a sitcom about the Pilgrims starring Tim Dutton, Cloris Leachman and Jim Rash.
He has written television movies for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel. They include four DARROW & DARROW movies, starring Kimberley Williams-Paisley, Wendie Malick and Tom Cavanaugh and two EMMA FIELDING MYSTERIES starring Courtney Thorne-Smith and James Tupper.
He loved being the showrunner and Executive Producer for the Hallmark series CHESAPEAKE SHORES, starring Treat Williams, Diane Ladd, Meghan Ory, Robert Buckley, Andrew Francis and Brendan Penny, from 2020-2022. Working with the late Treat Williams was near the high-point of Phoef’s career. He misses Treat every day.
He has enjoyed working with actors as diverse as Bob Newhart, John Cleese, Emma Thompson, Tim Curry, Brian Dennehy and William Shatner. He has directed a short film—a suspense tale called ‘TIL DEATH, starring Joe Mantegna. ‘TIL DEATH has been shown at various film festivals around the world and received prizes at the Garden State Festival and WorldFest in Houston, Texas.
Still involved in the theater, he co-wrote the musical SONGS FROM THE TALL GRASS, which was performed at the Ford’s Theater in Washington and other regional theaters around the country.
Phoef has also worked for many years as a screenwriter and script doctor. MRS. WINTERBOURNE, directed by Richard Benjamin, was an adaptation of a novel by one of his favorite authors, Cornell Woolrich. THE FAN, directed by Tony Scott and starring Robert DeNiro, was an adaptation of the novel by Peter Abrahams.
Phoef is also a published novelist, author of the critically acclaimed CRUSH series of mystery novels: CRUSH, HEART ATTACK AND VINE and COLORADO BOULEVARD. He has also written FIFTEEN MINUTES TO LIVE, a romantic thriller, and THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, a horror novel, and is the co-author of REBORN: A DEAD MAN ADVENTURE.
FROM AWAY is a supernatural novel set in Maine.
He also co-authored two novels with Janet Evanovich, WICKED CHARMS and CURIOUS MINDS.
In addition to this, he is co-host of the film history podcast FILM FREAKS FOREVER and has provided audio commentary for several vintage films, including BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE, THE HUMAN MONSTER, SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN, SILVER BLAZE, THE EAGLE HAS LANDED and others.
Phoef lives in South Pasadena, California and Vinalhaven, Maine with his wife Dawn and his daughters Skylar and Celia and his granddaughter Mallory.