Patricia Richardson considers herself to be "a military brat" growing up. She was born on February 23, 1951 in Bethesda, Maryland as the third born of four sisters. Her father was a Navy test pilot, having a lot of influence on her life, as well as her "Home Improvement" character, who would have a similar father on the show.

In the early 1980s, the actress first appeared in various television commercials, including one for Ruffle's Potato Chips. Richardson landed her first starring television role in 1984 on the series "Double Trouble." Large roles would follow for Richardson in the television series "Eisenhower & Lutz" and "F.M." The actress would also land guest appearances on such programs as "The Cosby Show", "Spenser: For Hire", and "Quantum Leap".

In 1991, Richardson's career took off, when she landed a major role on the new ABC sitcom "Home Improvement." The show, starred Tim Allen as Tim "The Toolman" Taylor, the host of a local cable show who wanted everything to have "more power!". Richardson played Tim's wife, Jill, the woman who often confused "The Toolman" but many times kept him from losing his mind. The family comedy was an instant hit with fans and gained Richardson some public attention.

Richardson also gained critical acclaim for her work on "Home Improvement", earning four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1994, 1996, 1997, and 1998. Richardson also received two Golden Globe nominations in the Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series (Comedy/Musical) category in 1994 and 1995. Patricia also co-hosted the 1994 Emmy Awards with Ellen DeGeneres.

In the 1993-94 television season, "Home Improvement" finished as the top-rated series adding to Richardson's credit as she continued to star. While the series continued to be both a fan favorite and a critic's choice, Richardson made two more television movies, Sophie and the Moonhanger (1995) and the CBS mini-series Undue Influence in 1996.

In 1997, Richardson starred in MGM's critically-acclaimed drama Ulee's Gold. Richardson earned praise for her portrayal of next-door-neighbor Connie Hope in the movie which landed her co-star Peter Fonda a Best Actor Oscar nomination. The film, written and directed by Victor Nunez, received much praise from film critics and gathered a number of awards and nominations. For her work in the film, Richardson was nominated for the Best Supporting Female honor at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Richardson has been able to take some time off from acting now that "Home Improvement" has ended. The series finished in May 1999 with a highly-rated finale. However, many feel that Richardson deserved more accolades for her acting on the long-running comedy, as she was snubbed from ever winning an Emmy for her work as Jill Taylor. The actress is divorced and has three children. Her post-"HI" work has included a 1999 "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" guest appearance, the independent film Viva Las Nowhere (retitled Dead Simple for video/DVD) co-starring James Caan and Daniel Stern, and the April 2001 miniseries "Blonde" co-starring Kirstie Alley.

In the fall of 2002, Patricia joined the cast of Lifetime's one-hour Sunday night drama series "Strong Medicine".

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