Born on 23rd February 1951, in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, Patricia Richardson is a talented actress who has been active in the entertainment industry since 1974. The brunette is known by millions for her role as Jill Taylor in the ABC series “Home Improvement”, which garnered her four Primetime Emmy Award nominations in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
During her childhood, Patricia studied at Hockaday School and Holton-Arms School amongst others. In 1972, she graduated from the Southern Methodist University, where she became friends with fellow actors Stephen Tobolowsky and Beth Henley, who were her classmates at the time. Stephen, who was set to join the cast of “Home Improvement” but had to turn the project down due to conflicting commitments, suggested to the producers that they consider Patricia for the role of Jill, instead of Frances Fisher.
Patricia’s career began in the regional theatre circuit, eventually moving on to Broadway plays, commercials, and minor appearances in TV series such as “Spencer For Hire”, “The Equalizer”, and “Kate & Allie”. She also appeared in an episode of “The Cosby Show” with her real-life husband, and had small roles in “C.H.U.D” and “Christmas Evil”.
In 1983, the actress left New York behind for LA, where she did the sitcom “Double Trouble” for Norman Lear. After her contract expired, Patricia was asked to return for a second season but turned the offer down and stayed in New York.
Almost a decade later – and just three months after giving birth to twins – Patricia landed her breakout role as Jill Taylor in “Home Improvement”, having become Frances Fisher’s last-minute replacement. During her time in the series, Patricia starred in “Undue Influence” with Brian Dennehy, “Sophie and the Moonhanger” with Lynn Whitfield, and hosted the Emmy Awards with Ellen DeGeneres, all while juggling her home life and motherhood.
In 2002, Patricia joined the cast of “Strong Medicine”, playing the new character Dr. Andy Campbell. Her portrayal of Andy earned her two Prism Award nominations; after three seasons, she left the medical drama series behind to join the cast of “The West Wing” as Republican campaign manager Sheila Brooks.
Patricia was also the executive producer of the 2008 video documentary “Long Story Short”, a project which she worked on alongside her longtime friend, actress Jodi Long. Between 2010 and 2013, she explored different genres with the movies “Bringing Ashley Home”, “Smart Cookies”, “The Jensen Project”, and “Beautiful Wave”. Since then, she’s worked on small independent films and Hallmark channel movies, such as “Snow Bride” and “Fri’ Request”.
The actress guest-starred as Helen Potts in a season four episode of “Last Man Standing”, where she was reunited with her “Home Improvement” co-star Tim Allen. She returned to the show as a recurring character in season five.
In 2015, Patricia ran for the position of national president of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), having served on its board for one term. Despite losing the election to Ken Howard, she was re-elected to the Guild’s National and Local Los Angeles Boards.
The following year, Patricia revisited the stage in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County Playhouse with a role in “Steel Magnolias”, working alongside Susan Sullivan, Elaine Hendrix, Jessica Walter and Lucy DeVito. The production was directed by Marsha Mason, and became the highest-grossing show in the history of the Playhouse in June 2016.
Patricia tied the knot with fellow actor Ray Baker in 1982. The former couple, who divorced in August 1995, share three children: Henry Richardson, Roxanne Elizabeth Baker, and Joseph Castle Baker. Patricia is also the godmother to actor Jack Gilpin’s daughter, Betty Gilpin.
Although Patricia’s current love life remains an enigma to the general public, we can confirm that she was in a long-term relationship with Mark Cline, a retired psychologist whom she met while studying at Southern Methodist University. The former couple were together from 2002 and 2012 and broke up for unspecified reasons. In June 2023, the actress was rumored to be engaged or married to a mystery man; however, the rumors were soon debunked.
The Maryland native is a Methodist and registered Democrat, who has also served on the Board of Directors for “Cure PSP”, as well as being its National Spokesperson. The research organization studies multiple system atrophy, corticobasal degeneration, and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) amongst other related diseases. The cause is especially close to Patricia’s heart due to her father passing away of PSP in 2005.
These days, Patricia is active on social media with over 8,000 Instagram followers. In a recent post, she wished her son Henry a Happy Father’s Day, saying: “Indefatigable, creative, takes his boys everywhere, loves them and his beautiful wife beyond words, demonstrates it every day… Lucky children, lucky wife, lucky me to get to share and celebrate with all of them this amazing person today.”
In early June 2023, the whole Richardson family came together for Roxanne’s wedding, an intimate but stunning affair which was celebrated in Ojai, California. Patricia’s ex-husband, Ray, was present at the ceremony alongside his wife Colleen; Patricia uploaded photos of the couple on her Instagram, showing that all parties involve maintain a positive relationship for the sake of their children and grandchildren.
Although it may appear that Patricia is headed towards a comfortable retirement away from the screens, given the fact that she doesn’t use social media to promote any of her projects, nothing could be further from the truth. In 2022, she joined the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” as Tessa Hobbs, and makes occasional appearances in the medical drama series – and in 2023, she played Maddie in the movie “County Line: No Fear”.
With that said, if Patricia does decide to retire soon and enjoy her golden years, she is more than able to do so. With a $25 million net worth, which includes an attractive property portfolio and other assets, the skilled actress has amassed enough wealth to lead a comfortable lifestyle without ever returning to a TV or movie set, should she so choose.