Patricia Richardson

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Patricia Richardson
Richardson after the 1994 Emmy Awards
Patricia Castle Richardson

(1951-02-23) February 23, 1951 (age 72)
Alma materSouthern Methodist University (BFA)
Years active1974–present
Known forJill Taylor in Home Improvement
(m. 1982; div. 1995)

Patricia Castle Richardson (born February 23, 1951)[1] is an American actress best known for her portrayal of Jill Taylor on the ABC sitcom Home Improvement, for which she was nominated four times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series[2] and twice for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical.[3] She also received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her performance in Ulee's Gold (1997).

Early life[edit]

Richardson attended multiple schools including Holton-Arms School and Hockaday School.[4][5] She is a 1972 graduate of Southern Methodist University,[6] where she was friends with classmates Beth Henley and Stephen Tobolowsky, who was slated to be a cast member of Home Improvement, but had other contractual commitments when the series began filming. Tobolowsky initially suggested to producers of Home Improvement that Richardson be considered for the role of Jill Taylor after Frances Fisher was deemed too serious for the role.


Richardson began as the understudy for the role of Gypsy Rose Lee in Angela Lansbury's Broadway production of Gypsy: A Musical Fable in 1974, also playing several small chorus parts.[6] In the next ten years she worked in regional theater, commercials, and other Broadway and Off- Broadway plays. She had roles in programs such as The Equalizer, Spencer For Hire, and Kate & Allie. She appeared in one episode of The Cosby Show in the third season with her real-life husband, playing a woman giving birth to her ninth child. Richardson also appeared in the films Christmas Evil and C.H.U.D.. In 1989, she appeared in one episode of Quantum Leap as a radio station owner.

In 1983, she left New York for LA briefly to do a sitcom centered around Katey Sagal's twin sisters, Liz and Jean Sagal, called Double Trouble, for Norman Lear. When asked to go back and do a second season after her contract had expired, she passed in order to stay in New York and continue performing in Beth Henley's The Miss Firecracker Contest off-Broadway. A few years later Allan Burns, who co-created The Mary Tyler Moore Show, brought her back to Los Angeles to star in two sitcoms he produced: Eisenhower and Lutz and FM. Both shows ran for 13 episodes.

In 1991, three months after giving birth to twins, Richardson became a last-minute replacement for Frances Fisher in what would be her breakout role as Jill Taylor on the ABC sitcom Home Improvement. Richardson received four Emmy nominations, and two Golden Globe nominations in this role.[6] While working on Home Improvement, she hosted the Emmys with Ellen DeGeneres, starred in the miniseries Undue Influence with Brian Dennehy, Sophie and the Moonhanger on Lifetime with Lynn Whitfield, and earned an Independent Spirit nomination in 1997 for her first major theatrical film role in Ulee's Gold.

Richardson and Taylor standing onstange with Leno seated
Richardson and co-star Tim Allen on-stage at the 45th Primetime Emmy Awards with late night host Jay Leno seated.

In 2002, Richardson replaced Janine Turner in the Lifetime medical drama series Strong Medicine, as a new character, Dr. Andy Campbell.[7] She was nominated for two Prism Awards for her work in Strong Medicine. After three seasons on that show, she was cast in a recurring role as Sheila Brooks, campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) in the final two seasons of NBC political drama The West Wing.

Richardson appeared in the first season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2008, she was the executive producer of the video documentary Long Story Short, which tells the story of Larry and Trudie Long, a popular Asian American nightclub act of the '40s and '50s, told through the eyes of their daughter and her friend, actress Jodi Long. In 2010, she appeared in an NBC made-for-TV film, The Jensen Project, and in 2011, she appeared in the Lifetime television film Bringing Ashley Home, also starring A.J. Cook and Jennifer Morrison. In 2012, she starred in the coming-of-age film Beautiful Wave and in the following year appeared in the Hallmark Channel TV film Smart Cookies. Since then, Richardson has filmed several small independent films and two more movies for the Hallmark channel, Friend Request and Snow Bride.[8]

On the twelfth episode of the fourth season of Last Man Standing titled "Helen Potts", Richardson guest-starred as the titular character and reunited with her former Home Improvement co-star, Tim Allen. At the end of the episode, it was revealed that one of her sons' name is Randy, who was portrayed by her other Home Improvement co-star; Jonathan Taylor Thomas. She returned as Helen Potts in the next season.

In 2015, she ran for the position of national president of the SAG-AFTRA, after she had served on the board for one term. She lost the election narrowly to incumbent President Ken Howard. She was re-elected to the National and Local Los Angeles Boards of SAG-AFTRA.

In 2016, Richardson returned to the stage in Steel Magnolias at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania. This production was directed by four time Oscar nominee Marsha Mason, and also starred Elaine Hendrix, Lucy DeVito, Jessica Walter and Susan Sullivan.[9][10] On June 9, 2016, this production became the highest-grossing show in the history of the Bucks County Playhouse.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Richardson married fellow actor Ray Baker in 1982. They had three children together: Henry Richardson Baker, twins Roxanne Elizabeth Baker and Joseph Castle Baker, before they divorced in August 1995. Richardson is the godmother of actress Betty Gilpin, the daughter of actor Jack Gilpin.[citation needed]

Richardson had a long-term relationship with retired psychologist Mark Cline, whom she had met when they were both students at Southern Methodist University.[7]

Richardson served many years on the Board of Directors and is the National Spokesperson for "Cure PSP", a patient advocacy and research organization for progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, multiple system atrophy and related "Prime Of Life" diseases. Her father died of PSP in 2005.[12][13]



Year Title Role Notes
1980 You Better Watch Out Mrs. Garcia
1984 C.H.U.D. Ad Woman
1986 Yuri Nosenko, KGB Joan Black TV movie
1987 Hands of a Stranger Helen
1989 Parent Trap III Cassie McGuire
Lost Angels Mrs. Anderson
In Country Cindy
1996 Sophie & the Moonhanger Bonnie Edgerton Voice role; TV movie
Undue Influence Laurel Vega TV movie
1997 Ulee's Gold Connie Hope Nominated: Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
2001 Blonde Gladys Pearl Baker
Viva Las Nowhere Helen/Wanda
2005 Candy Paint Linda Miller Short film
2007 California Dreaming Aunt Bonnie
2009 Lost Dream Patricia
2010 The Jensen Project Ingrid Jensen TV movie
2011 Bringing Ashley Home Michelle McGee
2012 Beautiful Wave Sue Davenport Direct-to-video
Smart Cookies Lola Hallmark movie
2012 Avarice Claire
2013 Snow Bride Maggie Tannenhill Hallmark movie
Chance at Romance May
2017 County Line Maddie Hall
2018 A Christmas in Tennessee Martha Hallmark movie
2019 Cubby Peggy Nabel
A Very Vintage Christmas Margaret
2023 County Line: No Fear Maddie


Year Title Role Notes
1979 The Doctors Nurse Marion
1981 Love, Sidney Episode: "A Piece of the Rock"
1984 Double Trouble Beth McConnell 8 episodes
1985 ABC Weekend Special Pamela Sawyer Episode: "The Adventures of Con Sawyer and Hucklemary Finn"
Kate & Allie Pamela Episode: "The Reunion"
1986 Spenser: For Hire Sarah Cabot Episode: "Shadowsight"
1987 The Cosby Show Mrs. Schrader Episode: "Calling Doctor Huxtable"
The Equalizer Sandy Episode: "In the Money"
1988 Eisenhower and Lutz Kay 'K.K.' Dunne 13 episodes
1989 Quantum Leap Rachel Porter Episode: "Good Morning, Peoria – September 9, 1959"
1989–1990 FM Lee-Ann Plunkett 13 episodes
1991–1999 Home Improvement Jill Taylor 202 episodes;
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1994–95)
People's Choice Award for Favorite Female TV Performer
Nominated: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1994, 1996–98)
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series
1999 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Annabel Hayes Episode: "Wanderlust"
2002–2005 Strong Medicine Dr. Andy Campbell 59 Episodes
Prism Award for Best Performance in a Drama Series
2005–2006 The West Wing Sheila Brooks 9 episodes
2015–2016 Last Man Standing Helen Potts 2 episodes "Helen Potts", "Tanks For The Memories"
2019 Blindspot Dr. Nora Lee Roga Episode: "The Big Reveal"
2021 NCIS Judy Price Fielding Episode: "Docked"
2022 The Blacklist Matilda Episode: "Genuine Models Inc."
2022-2023 Grey’s Anatomy Tessa Hobbes "Thunderstruck” & “I’ll Follow the Sun”


  1. ^ "Famous birthdays for Feb. 23: Samara Weaving, Patricia Richardson". United Press International. February 23, 2022. Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  2. ^ "Patricia Richardson". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  3. ^ "Patricia Richardson". Golden Globes. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  4. ^ Sweany, Brian D. (November 1997). "Patricia Richardson". Texas Monthly. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  5. ^ Moore, Scott. "She's Mom At Home And On The Set". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Patricia Richardson Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Kelleher, Terry (September 23, 2002). "Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...Patricia Richardson". People. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  8. ^ Valby, Karen (October 23, 2013). "Hallmark Channel Christmas movies: The five you'll be watching". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  9. ^ Simoes, Monica (May 18, 2016). "Meet the Cast of Bucks County Playhouse's Steel Magnolias". Playbill. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  10. ^ Otten, Ted (June 1, 2016). "Theater: 'Steel Magnolias' at Bucks County Playhouse". The Times of Trenton. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  11. ^ Gordon, Jessica Fallon (June 10, 2016). "STEEL MAGNOLIAS at Bucks County Playhouse Breaks Box Office Records!". Broadway World. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  12. ^ "Patricia Richardson". Cure PSP. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010.
  13. ^ Elavsky, Cindy (March 9, 2014). "Celebrity Extra". Dearborn Times-Herald. Retrieved May 28, 2014.

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