Patricia Richardson

For the British politician, see Patricia Richardson (politician).
Patricia Richardson

Richardson after the 1994 Emmy Awards
Born Patricia Castle Richardson
(1951-02-23) February 23, 1951
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1980–present
Spouse(s) Ray Baker (1982–1995; divorced)
Children Henry (b. 1985)
twins Roxanne and Joseph (b. 1991)

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

Early life

Richardson was born in Bethesda, Maryland as the third daughter of Mary Elizabeth (née Howard) and Laurence Baxter Richardson. Her sisters' names are Marianna 'Ann' Bales (née Richardson), Lynn Richardson and Catherine 'Cathy' Moseley (née Richardson). Her father was a corporate executive and retired naval officer. Richardson attended the Holton-Arms School in Maryland and then The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas.[3] She is a 1972 graduate of Southern Methodist University,[4] 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, also playing several small chorus parts.[4] 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 husband playing a woman giving birth to her ninth child. Richardson also appeared in the films C.H.U.D. and You Better Watch Out.

In the late 80's she left New York for LA briefly to do a sitcom centered around Katey Sagal's twin sisters, 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 Alan Burns, who co- created the Mary Tyler Moore show, brought her back to LA to star in two sitcoms he produced: Eisenhower and Lutz (for CBS with Scott Bakula) and FM ( for NBC with Robert Hayes). Both shows produced 13 episodes but the first was ended by the writer's strike and later NBC replaced FM with the show Wings.

In 1991, 3 months after giving birth to twins, Richardson became a last minute replacement for Frances Fisher in what would be her break out role as the Mom in the ABC comedy Home Improvement. Richardson received four Emmy nominations, and two Golden Globe nominations in this role.[4] While working on Home Improvement , she hosted the Emmys with Ellen DeGeneres, starred in the mini- series Undue Influence with Brian Dennehy, Sophie and the Moonhanger on Lifetime with Lynn Whitfield, and won an Independent Spirit nomination in 1997 for her first major theatrical film role in Ulee's Gold.

In 2002, Richardson replaced Janine Turner in the Lifetime medical drama series Strong Medicine, as a new character, Dr. Andy Campbell.[5] 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 director 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, Ms. Richardson 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, 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 TV film Bringing Ashley Home, also starring AJ Cook and Jennifer Morrison. In 2011, 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 .[6]

On the Season 4 Episode 12 episode of Last Man Standing entitled '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 'Helen Potts', it was revealed that one of her son's name is Randy, who was portrayed by her other Home Improvement co-star; Jonathan Taylor Thomas. She recurred again as Helen Potts in the next season.

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

Personal life

Richardson married fellow actor Ray Baker in 1982. They had three children together: Henry Richardson Baker (born on February 22, 1985), and twins Roxanne Elizabeth Baker and Joseph Castle Baker (born on January 3, 1991), before they got divorced in August 1995. Richardson is the godmother of actress Betty Gilpin, the daughter of actors Ann and Jack Gilpin.

Richardson had a long-term relationship with retired psychologist Dr. Mark Cline, whom she had met when they were both students at the Southern Methodist University. When she joined the cast of Strong Medicine, Richardson mentioned in an interview they lived together in her LA home.[7]Although they don't appear to live together anymore, they are still friends and have been seen together.

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.[8][9]



Year Title Role Notes
1980 You Better Watch Out Moss' mother
1984 C.H.U.D. Ad Woman
1986 Yuri Nosenko, KGB Joan Black Television movie
1987 Hands of a Stranger Helen Television movie
1989 Parent Trap III Cassie McGuire Television movie
1989 Lost Angels Cheryl's Mother
1989 In Country Cindy
1996 Sophie & the Moonhanger Bonnie Edgerton Television movie
1996 Undue Influence Laurel Vega Television movie
1997 Ulee's Gold Connie Hope Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
2001 Blonde Gladys Baker
2001 Dead Simple Helen/Wanda
2005 Candy Paint Linda Miller Short film
2007 California Dreaming Aunt Bonnie
2009 Lost Dream Patricia
2010 The Jensen Project Ingrid Television movie
2011 Beautiful Wave Sue
2011 Bringing Ashley Home Michelle McGee Television movie
2012 Smart Cookies Lola Television movie
2013 Avarice Claire
2013 Snow Bride Maggie Tannenhill Television movie


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Love, Sidney N/A 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"
1985 Kate & Allie Pamela Episode: "The Reunion"
1986 Spenser: For Hire Sarah Cabot Episode: "Shadowsight"
1987 The Cosby Show Mrs. Schrader Episode: "Calling Doctor Huxtable"
1987 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
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1994–95)
Nominated—People's Choice Award for Favorite Female TV Performer
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1994, 1996–98)
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series
Nominated—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
Nominated—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"


  1. "Patricia Richardson | Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". Retrieved 2013-12-31.
  2. "Patricia Richardson | Hollywood Foreign Press Association". Retrieved 2016-01-17.
  3. NNDB. "Patricia Richardson". Retrieved 2006-08-22.
  4. 1 2 3 "Patricia Richardson Biography". Retrieved 2013-12-31.
  5. Kelleher, Terry (2002-09-23). "Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...Patricia Richardson". Retrieved 2013-12-31.
  6. Valby, Karen (2013-10-23). "Hallmark Channel Christmas movies: The five you'll be watching | PopWatch |". Retrieved 2013-12-31.
  7. Kelleher, Terry (2002-09-23). "Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...Patricia Richardson". Retrieved 2013-12-31.
  8. Patricia Richardson, Cure PSP
  9. Elavsky, Cindy (March 9, 2014). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
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