Holland Taylor

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Holland Taylor
Holland Taylor.jpg
Taylor circa 1994
Born Holland Virginia Taylor
(1943-01-14) January 14, 1943 (age 71)[1]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.[1]
Occupation Actress
Years active 1965–present

Holland Virginia Taylor (born January 14, 1943[1]) is an American actress of film, stage, and television, and playwright. Her notable television roles include Ruth Dunbar in Bosom Buddies, senator's wife Margaret Powers on Norman Lear's The Powers That Be, Judge Roberta Kittleson on The Practice and Evelyn Harper in Two and a Half Men. She is also the author of the solo play Ann, based on the life and work of Ann Richards.

Early life[edit]

Taylor was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1943, the daughter of Virginia, a painter, and C. Tracy Taylor, an attorney.[2] She is the youngest of three girls in the family; her sisters are Patricia and Pamela. Taylor attended high school at Westtown School, a Quaker boarding school in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She then majored in drama at Bennington College[3] graduating in 1964, before moving to New York City to become an actress.[4]

Career[edit]

Taylor's long career began in the theatre. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s she appeared in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, including starring roles in Simon Gray's Butley and A. R. Gurney's The Cocktail Hour; for the latter she was nominated for a Drama Desk award. Taylor also has the dubious distinction of having starred in Broadway's most infamous flop, Moose Murders, where she filled in, with less than a week's rehearsal, for veteran character actress Eve Arden who had jumped from the sinking ship.[5]

In 1983 Taylor had one of her greatest theatrical moments in Breakfast with Les and Bess, which prompted the New York magazine theatre critic John Simon to sing, "...Miss Taylor is one of the few utterly graceful, attractive, elegant and technically accomplished actresses in our theatre...seeing her may turn you, like me, into a Taylor freak..."[6]

Concentrating on theatre, television took a backseat but she did take on the role of Denise Cavanaugh on the long running soap opera, The Edge of Night, who was so evil, she killed herself just to frame her husband. Then encouraged by her acting coach, the legendary Stella Adler, Taylor took a role that would make her well known: Tom Hanks' sexy, demanding boss in the 1980s sitcom Bosom Buddies.[7]

The actress' rising fame, built slowly over many years, led her to roles that made her a well known name in the industry. She proved herself to be equally adept both at comedy and at drama.[4] In 1985, she co-starred with Lisa Eilbacher in the ABC detective series Me and Mom. Two years later, she played opposite Alan Arkin in the short-lived ABC sitcom Harry, in which she received "starring" billing. Then, in 1990, Taylor reunited with former Bosom Buddies executive producers Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett for a role on their ABC sitcom Going Places, playing grand dame television producer Dawn St. Claire for the show's first thirteen episodes. From 1992 to 1993, she starred in Norman Lear's The Powers That Be with John Forsythe and David Hyde Pierce, playing the wife of Forsythe's character, a the U.S. senator. In early 1994, she joined the cast of Saved by the Bell: The College Years as Dean Susan McMann, just episodes before its cancellation. Following this was her role as high-powered newspaper editor Camilla Dane on the ABC/NBC sitcom The Naked Truth; Taylor was one of the few cast members to last all the way through the show's run, from 1995 to 1998.

She played the part of rapacious Judge Roberta Kittleson on The Practice. Originally intended to be a one-time appearance,[8] the role lasted from 1998 to 2003. She won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in 1999; in her acceptance speech, she brought the house down when she lifted the Emmy over her head and said, "Overnight!" Taylor thanked David E. Kelley, The Practice's producer/writer and creator, for "giving me a chariot to ride up here on: A woman who puts a flag on the moon for women over 40—who can think, who can work, who are successes, who can cook, and who can COOK!".

Taylor was also nominated for an Emmy for her recurring role on AMC's The Lot, and has been nominated four times since 2003, for best supporting actress for her role on the TV series Two and a Half Men, playing Evelyn Harper, the snobbish, overbearing mother of Charlie Sheen's and Jon Cryer's characters. Taylor's television movie and series guest roles have been extensive and include appearances on ER, Veronica's Closet, and recurring roles on Ally McBeal; Monk and as billionaire Peggy Peabody on The L Word.

Taylor's movie roles have included Reese Witherspoon's tough Harvard law professor in the 2001 comedy Legally Blonde; Tina Fey's mother in Baby Mama; The Truman Show; Happy Accidents; Next Stop Wonderland; George of the Jungle; The Wedding Date; How to Make an American Quilt; Romancing the Stone; and D.E.B.S..

Taylor's animated roles include that of Prudence, the castle's majordomo and love interest of the Grand Duke, in Disney's Cinderella II and Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. She also played a role in the animated show American Dad! as Francine's biological mother.

Holland Taylor in 2008.

Taylor's first love remains the theatre and she began researching, writing and producing a one-woman play about the late Texas Governor Ann Richards in 2009.[4] The two-act play, originally titled Money, Marbles, and Chalk, starring Taylor as Richards, was first workshopped in May 2010 at The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, Texas.[9] It was later retitled Ann: An Affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards[10] and opened in Chicago November 16, 2011 and was billed as a "pre-Broadway" engagement. It is scheduled to play at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. December 17, 2011 through January 15, 2012. Ann next opened on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on March 7th, 2013 and is scheduled to run until September 1st, 2013. For this role, Taylor was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play.[11]

Charitable work[edit]

Taylor has been a long-time, major supporter of Aid For AIDS in Los Angeles, serving on their Honorary Board and as an ongoing participant in their largest annual fundraiser, Best In Drag Show, among other fundraising efforts.[12]

Emmy Award nominations[edit]

Year Category Title of Work Result
1999 Outstanding Supporting Actress - Drama Series The Practice Won
2000 Outstanding Supporting Actress - Drama Series The Practice Nominated
2000 Outstanding Guest Actress - Comedy Series The Lot Nominated
2005 Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series Two and a Half Men Nominated
2007 Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series Two and a Half Men Nominated
2008 Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series Two and a Half Men Nominated
2010 Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series Two and a Half Men Nominated

Tony Award nominations[edit]

Year Category Title of Work Result
2013 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play Ann Nominated

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Role
1969 J.T. Mrs. Arnold
1976 The Next Man TV Interviewer
1979 3 by Cheever: O Youth and Beauty! Beverly
1980 Fame Claudia Van Doren (Uncredited)
1982 The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana Frances Shand Kydd
1982 I Was a Mail Order Bride Dottie Birmington
1983 Reuben, Reuben
1984 Concealed Enemies Mrs. Marbury
1984 Romancing the Stone Gloria Hart
1985 Key Exchange Mrs. Fanshaw
1985 Perry Mason Returns Paula Gordon
1985 The Jewel of the Nile Gloria Hart
1987 Tales from the Hollywood Hills: Natica Jackson Ernestine King
1988 She's Having a Baby Sarah Briggs
1990 People Like Us Dolly
1990 Alice Helen
1990 Big Deals
1991 The Rape of Doctor Willis Dr. Greenway
1993 Cop and a Half Captain Rubio
1994 Betrayal of Trust Mary Shelton
1994 In the Best of Families: Marriage, Pride & Madness Florence Newsom
1994 The Counterfeit Contessa Wallace Everett
1994 The Favor Maggie Sand
1995 A Walton Wedding Aunt Flo
1995 Awake to Danger Dr. Joyce Lindley
1995 With Hostile Intent Lois Baxter
1995 To Die For Carol Stone
1995 How to Make an American Quilt Mrs. Rubens
1995 Last Summer in the Hamptons Davis
1995 Steal Big Steal Little Mona Rowland-Downey
1996 One Fine Day Rita
1997 George of the Jungle Beatrice Stanhope
1997 Just Write Emma Jeffreys
1997 Betty Crystal Ball
1998 The Unknown Cyclist Celia (Uncredited)
1998 The Truman Show Truman's Mother
1998 Next Stop Wonderland Piper Castleton
1999 My Last Love Marnie Morton
1999 The Sex Monster Muriel
2000 The Spiral Staircase Emma Warren
2000 Happy Accidents Therapist, Maggie Ann "Meg" Ford
2000 Mail to the Chief Katherine Horner
2000 Keeping the Faith Bonnie Rose
2000 The Deadly Look of Love Evelyn McGinnis
2001 Strange Frequency Marge Crowley (segment "Room Service")
2001 Town & Country Mistress of Ceremonies
2001 Legally Blonde Professor Stromwell
2001 The Day Reagan Was Shot Nancy Reagan
2002 Fits and Starts
2002 Cinderella II: Dreams Come True Prudence (voice)
2002 Home Room Dr. Hollander
2002 Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams Grandmother
2003 Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Grandmother
2003 Intent Judge Cavallo
2004 D.E.B.S. Mrs. Petrie
2005 The Wedding Date Bunny
2007 Cinderella III: A Twist in Time Prudence (voice)
2008 Baby Mama Rose
2010 The Chosen One Ruth

Television[edit]

Year Show Episode
1967 Love Is a Many Splendored Thing Trish Wanamaker (1971)
1970 Somerset Sgt. Ruth Winter (unknown episodes, 1973)
1975 Beacon Hill Marilyn Gardiner (unknown episodes)
1975 Kojak Elizabeth (1 episode, 1977)
1967 The Edge of Night Denise Norwood Cavanaugh, R.N. (1977–1978, 1980)
1981 ABC Afterschool Special Felicia Martin (1 episode, 1981)
1981 Bosom Buddies Ruth Dunbar (21 episodes, 1980–1981)
1970 All My Children Jill Ollinger (unknown episodes, 1981–1982)
1983 The Love Boat Kathy Brighton (1 episode, 1983)
1984 Kate & Allie Linda Cabot (1 episode, 1984)
1985 Me and Mom Zena Hunnicutt (unknown episodes)
1987 Harry Ina Duckett, R.N. (unknown episodes)
1987 Perfect Strangers Olivia Crawford (1 episode, 1987)
1987 CBS Summer Playhouse Fran Grogan (2 episodes, 1987–1989)
1989 Murder, She Wrote Winifred Thayer (1 episode, 1989)
1990 Wiseguy Allison Royce (1 episode, 1990)
1990 Going Places Dawn St. Clare (3 episodes, 1990–1991)
1992 The Powers That Be Margaret Powers (20 episodes, 1992–1993)
1993 Saved by the Bell: The College Years Dean Susan McMann (7 episodes, 1993–1994)
1994 Diagnosis: Murder Agent Gretchen McCord (2 episodes, 1994–1995)
1995 The Naked Truth Camilla Dane (23 episodes, 1995–1998)
1996 Something So Right Abigail (1 episode, 1996)
1998 The Practice Judge Roberta Kittleson (29 episodes, 1998-2003)
1998 Veronica's Closet Millicent (2 episodes, 1998)
1998 Buddy Faro Olivia Vandermeer (1 episode, 1998)
1999 ER Phyllis Farr (1 episode, 1999)
1999 The Lot Letitia DeVine (unknown episodes)
1999 Ally McBeal 2nd Woman in Face Bra Infomercial / Judge Roberta Kittleson (2 episodes, 1999–2000)
2000 Strong Medicine Lillian Pynchon (1 episode, 2000)
2000 DAG Katherine Twigg (1 episode, 2000)
2000 The Living Edens Narrator (1 episode, 2000)
2001 The Fighting Fitzgeralds Rose (1 episode, 2001)
2001 Strange Frequency Marge Crowley (1 episode, 2001)
2002 Fillmore! Mrs. Cornwall (1 episode, 2002)
2004 The L Word Peggy Peabody (8 episodes, 2004–2008)
2005 Monk Peggy Davenport (2 episodes, 2005–2007)
2003 Two and a Half Men Evelyn Harper (100 episodes, 2003–Present)
2007 American Dad! Mrs. Dawson (voice, episode "Big Trouble in Little Langley ")
2012 Electric City Ruth Orwell
2012 McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade Grand Marshal

Theater[edit]

Broadway

Off-Broadway

Regional

Los Angeles

  • The Unexpected Man, The Geffen Playhouse
  • Kinder Transport, The Tiffany Theatre
  • Narrator – LA Philharmonic "Persephone, Stravinsky, Essa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor"
  • Narrator – LA Philharmonic "Ahknaten, Philip Glass, John Adams, Conductor"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bobbin, Jay (2005-08-21). "Checking in with Holland Taylor". The Free Lance-Star. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Holland Taylor Biography (1943-)". FilmReference.com. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  3. ^ "Holland Taylor returns to role in 'Naked Truth'". The Vindicator. 1997-08-11. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Rhodes, Joe (October 5, 2008). "Growing From Too Young to Grande Dame". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  5. ^ Rich, Frank (23 February 1983). "Stage: 'Moose Murders,' A Brand Of Whodunnit". The New York Times (NYTimes.com). Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  6. ^ Simons, John (8 August 1983). "Uppie with Auntie". New York. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  7. ^ Byrne, Bridget (8 November 2004). "Stirring Things Up". Toledo Blade. Google.com. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  8. ^ Shishter, Gail (14 October 1999). "'Practice's' Holland Taylor still stunned by Emmy win". The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). Google.com. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  9. ^ Ron Oliveira (28 April 2010). "A Play About Ann Richards". KEYE-TV. 
  10. ^ "A Letter from Holland Taylor". The North Hollywood Arts Center. 
  11. ^ "Holland Taylor to Lead Pre-Broadway Run of ANN at Kennedy Center, 12/17-1/15". BroadwayWorld.com. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  12. ^ "Partners/Celebrity Support". Aid For AIDS. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 

External links[edit]