Actress Patricia Richardson is best known for her role as Jill Taylor in the 1990's sitcom Home Improvement, opposite Tim Allen. She received four Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe nominations for this role. She went on to hold a number of star roles as a television actress in The West Wing, Strong Medicine and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. She has three children with actor Ray Baker.
Actress. Born on February 23, 1951, in Bethesda, Maryland. Patricia Richardson made her mark on television history as the rational, calm, and loving wife and mother Jill Taylor on the 1990s hit sitcom Home Improvement. The daughter of a navy pilot, she discovered acting as a teenager. While her family did not support her interest, Richardson went to study drama at Southern Methodist University.
After graduating in 1972, Patricia Richardson eventually moved to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a professional actress. Her first break was as an understudy for the title role in the 1974 Broadway production of Gypsy. Richardson had a few more stage parts, including 1979’s Loose Ends, and landed several commercials. In 1980, she met actor Ray Baker, and the two quickly became an item. They were married in 1982.
The couple later moved out to Los Angeles, and by 1990, Patricia Richardson had made two attempts at series television - Eisenhower & Lutz and FM - both short-lived. The third time proved to be the charm. Home Improvement debuted in the fall of 1991, and the show became a huge success. As Jill Taylor, Richardson proved a counterbalance to Tim Allen’s kinetic and sometimes destructive Tim Taylor and the series often explored the work that goes into a marriage as well as the many miscommunications between men and women. On the show, the Taylors had three young sons played by Zachery Ty Bryan, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and Taran Noah Smith. As a working mother herself, Richardson gave a believable and genuine performance as Jill Taylor. Audiences could relate to the character as a woman trying to manage work and family. She was nominated for an Emmy Award four times for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1994, 1996, 1997, and 1998.
Success in Other Roles
In side projects, Patricia Richardson proved she was more than a sitcom mom. Her turn as a nurse, neighbor, and love interest to Peter Fonda in Ulee’s Gold (1997) earned her warm reviews. After Home Improvement went off the air in 1999, Richardson explored other types of roles, including playing Marilyn Monroe’s mother in the 2001 television movie Blonde.
In 2002, Patricia Richardson made a return to series television, tackling a dramatic role this time out. She replaced Janine Turner on the Lifetime cable network show, Strong Medicine. She stayed with the show for three years as Dr. Andy Campbell, a former army doctor as well as a wife and mother. Richardson also had a recurring role on the hit political drama The West Wing during its final 2005-2006 season. Since then, she has reportedly been working on a film entitled Out of Omaha with Dave Foley and Lea Thompson.
Patricia Richardson has three children - Henry, Roxanne, and Joseph - from her marriage to Ray Baker. The couple divorced in 1995.
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