Patricia Richardson has been hard at work since “Home Improvement” ended production. She was seen in the Franchise Pictures’ production “Dead Simple” and portrayed Marilyn Monroe’s mother in the CBS miniseries “Blonde.”
Richardson is best known for her portrayal of Jill Taylor on the long-running series “Home Improvement.” For her work on the series, she received four Emmy nominations as “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series” as well as two Golden Globe nominations and a “Viewers for Quality Television” award nomination.
A self-described “Navy brat,” then a “defense corporation brat,” Richardson was born in Bethesda, Maryland and moved with her family frequently during her childhood. Making new friends in every town forced the young girl to be outgoing and sparked her early interest in a career as an actress.
After an unlikely stage debut as a male cop in an all-girls school play, Richardson started seriously pursuing her craft. Following graduation from Southern Methodist University, she moved to New York, where her first audition won her the understudy role of young Gypsy Rose Lee in the Angela Lansbury revival of “Gypsy.” She ended up working with the company on Broadway and on tour for 11 months in a variety of roles. Additional Broadway credits include Michael Weller’s “Loose Ends” and “The Wake of Jamey Foster.” Off-Broadway, Richardson appeared in productions of “Vanities,” Ted Talley’s “Hooters” and “The Miss Firecracker Contest,” which was written by her former classmate, noted playwright Beth Henley (who also wrote “The Wake of Jamey Foster.”) In Kevin Wade’s “Cruise Control,” her breakout performance was heralded by New York Magazine as “one of the ten best of 1985” and earned her a “Hirshfeld.”
Richardson’s critical success in “Cruise Control” led to TV roles including the 1984 Norman Lear TV series “Double Trouble,” the 1987 CBS series “Eisenhower and Lutz” with Scott Bakula, and the 1988 NBC series “FM” with Robert Hayes. In 1988, she relocated to Los Angeles to pursue television full-time, eventually landing the role as Jill Taylor on “Home Improvement” in 1991.
In 1998, Richardson received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her starring role opposite Peter Fonda in “Ulee’s Gold.” In this film, she portrays Connie, a nurse whose compassion helps both Ulee (Fonda) and herself overcome ghosts of the past. Richardson also has applied her talents to film roles in “Lost Angels” with Donald Sutherland and “In Country” with Bruce Willis. Her other television credits include her telefilm debut in Lifetime’s “Sophie and the Moonhanger,” for which she received critical acclaim for her performance as the abused wife of a Ku Klux Klan official, and the miniseries “Undue Influence,” based on Steve Martini’s New York Times best-seller in which she starred opposite Brian Dennehy.
Richardson is a loving mother to her son Henry and twins Roxanne and Joseph.