Making her professional acting debut with an understudy in Angela Lansbury's Broadway production of "Gypsy: A Musical Fable" (1975), Patricia Richardson would later be popular among TV viewers while playing Tim Allen's wife Jillian "Jill" Patterson Taylor in the ABC Emmy-winning sitcom "Home Improvement" (1991-1999).
Meanwhile, the actress who made her film debut in the average slasher "You Better Watch Out" (1980), has appeared in such films as "C.H.U.D." (1984), "Ulee's Gold" (1997), "Viva Las Nowhere" (2001), and "Out of Omaha" (2007). She will next be seen in the upcoming drama film called "Lost Dream."
Richardson also had recurring roles in two short-lived series, "Double Trouble" (1984) and "Eisenhower and Lutz" (1988), as well as a two season run in "FM" (1989), playing a spunky radio talk show host. Additionally, she had major parts on the television series "The West Wing" and "Strong Medicine."
On a more personal note, the 5' 7" TV star with a hairstyle that features sharp, sassy bangs was married to actor Ray Baker, with whom she has three children.
Childhood and Family:
On February 23, 1951, Patricia Castle Richardson was born in Bethesda, Maryland, to Lawrence Baxter Richardson, who was a fighter and test pilot and later an aeronautical engineer and executive, and Mary Elizabeth, a housewife. The third of four girls, Patricia's sisters are Ann, Lynn and Cathy Richardson. All of her sisters would appear on the Lifetime Intimate Portrait special along with her parents, and the E Entertainment Biography about Patricia.
Patricia, nicknamed ''Pat,'' is a 1969 graduate of the prestigious Hockaday School For Girls-Dallas, Texas, and a 1973 graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where she received her BFA degree in acting and was friends with classmate Beth Henley.
On June 20, 1982, Patricia married actor Ray Baker and has three children, Henry Baker (born on February 22, 1985), and twins Roxanne Baker and Joseph Baker (born on January 3, 1991). Patricia and Ray divorced in August 1995.
Patricia is currently the spokesperson for the disease her father died of, PSP. She is also hosting a television program that helps parents be more involved with their children's learning process called "The Learning Lunchbox."
After receiving her BFA degree in acting, Patricia Richardson spent several years in New York doing theater, beginning with an understudy in Angela Lansbury's Broadway production of "Gypsy: A Musical Fable" (1975), in which she would eventually play several parts. She went on to do the national tour and played chorus roles. After several off-Broadway appearances, she got her first big break when she originated a role in Michael Weller's Broadway adaptation of "Loose Ends".
Richardson then reunited with old college classmate Beth Henley, who wrote "The Wake of Jimmy Foster," in which Richardson played the lead role. In the mid 1980s, she was lauded as "one of the ten best of 1985" by New York Magazine for her performance in the Broadway production "Cruise Control". In-between legit acting jobs, Richardson appeared in numerous commercials.
Meanwhile, Richardson began appearing on screen, beginning with the 1980 film "You Better Watch Out," an average slasher film in which she played Peter Neuman's mother, and followed it up with her second film, the 1984 horror "C.H.U.D." Meanwhile, she also made early appearances on television, playing a guest role in a 1981 episode of the NBC comedy series "Love, Sidney."
After securing her first regular role, as Beth McConnell (1984), in the NBC teen sitcom "Double Trouble," Richardson appeared in the ABC Weekend Specials for the episode "The Adventures of Con Sawyer and Hucklemary Finn" (1985), and guest starred in the CBS sitcom "Kate & Allie," the ABC mystery "Spenser: For Hire," NBC long-running sitcom "The Cosby Show," CBS action/adventure series "The Equalizer," and the NBC sci-fi series "Quantum Leap." She also appeared in the made-for-TV movies "Yuri Nosenko, KGB" (1986), "Hands of a Stranger" (1987), and "Parent Trap III" (1989).
In 1988, Richardson played the recurring role of Kay 'K.K.' Dunne in the CBS sitcom "Eisenhower & Lutz," and co-starred as Lee-Ann Plunkett in the short-lived NBC sitcom "FM" in 1989 to 1990. During this time, she could be seen in the films "Lost Angels" (1989), a drama directed by Hugh Hudson and stars Donald Sutherland and Adam Horovitz in which she played Amy Locane's mother, and "In Country" (1989), Norman Jewison's film adaptation of Bobbie Ann Mason's novel starring Bruce Willis, Emily Lloyd, and Joan Allen.
Richardson nabbed her most popular role to date, as Jillian "Jill" Patterson Taylor, the wife of Tim Allen's Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor character and the mother of Zachery Ty Bryan's Brad, Jonathan Taylor Thomas' Randy, and Taran Noah Smith's Mark, in the ABC Emmy-winning sitcom "Home Improvement." She stayed in the show since its pilot in 1991 until its finale in 1999 and has earned a total of four Emmy nominations (all for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series) and two Golden Globe nominations (all for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical).
During her hefty "Home Improvement" stint, Richardson co-hosted 46th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards with Ellen DeGeneres and co-starred in writer/director Victor Nuñez's Oscar-nominated family drama film "Ulee's Gold" (1997), playing Connie Hope, a twice-divorced nurse who assists Peter Fonda's title character in detoxifying his daughter-in-law. For her work in the film, Richardson was nominated an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female. She also appeared in the TV commercial for ''Until There's a Cure'' (1998) and was spotted as a guest in an October 1999 episode of the NBC police procedural drama series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
Entering the new millennium, Richardson's voice was used in numerous "Arby's" TV commercials. Afterwards, she was cast as the mentally unstable mother of Marilyn Monroe (played by Poppy Montgomery) in the fictionalized CBS biopic "Blonde" (2001), which was based on Joyce Carol Oates' novel, and as the wife of Daniel Stern's lead character in Jason Bloom's independent film "Viva Las Nowhere" (2001).
During the third season (2002) of Lifetime medical drama "Strong Medicine," Richardson came in the staff as Dr. Andy Campbell, a former military doctor with the rank of Colonel. She left the show after her character was named United States Surgeon General (which was also a stated ambition of her predecessor) at the end of the fifth season (2005). Afterwards, she snagged a recurring role, as Sheila Brooks (2005-2006), Senator Vinick's (played by Alan Alda) Chief of Staff and Vinick-Sullivan Campaign Manager who later resigned to play to the Republican base, in the NBC political drama "The West Wing."
Meanwhile, Richardson appeared in the 27-minute short comedy film "Candy Paint" (2005), and a comedy feature called "Out of Omaha" (2007), starring Dave Foley and Lea Thompson. She si currently working on her upcoming film project, "Lost Dream," a drama written and directed by Asif Ahmed and stars Michael Welch.