Holland Taylor

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Holland Taylor
Holland Taylor.jpg
Taylor circa 1994
BornHolland Virginia Taylor
(1943-01-14) January 14, 1943 (age 71)[1]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.[1]
Years active1965–present
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Holland Taylor
Holland Taylor.jpg
Taylor circa 1994
BornHolland Virginia Taylor
(1943-01-14) January 14, 1943 (age 71)[1]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.[1]
Years active1965–present

Holland Virginia Taylor (born January 14, 1943[1]) is an American actress of film, stage, and television, and playwright. Her notable television roles include Ruth Dunbar in Bosom Buddies, senator's wife Margaret Powers on Norman Lear's The Powers That Be, Judge Roberta Kittleson on The Practice and Evelyn Harper in Two and a Half Men. She is also the author of the solo play Ann, based on the life and work of Ann Richards.

Early life[edit]

Taylor was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1943, the daughter of Virginia (Davis), a painter, and C. Tracy Taylor, an attorney.[2][3] She is the youngest of three girls in the family; her sisters are Patricia and Pamela. Taylor attended high school at Westtown School, a Quaker boarding school in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She then majored in drama at Bennington College[4] graduating in 1964, before moving to New York City to become an actress.[5]


Taylor's long career began in the theatre. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s she appeared in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, including starring roles in Simon Gray's Butley and A. R. Gurney's The Cocktail Hour; for the latter she was nominated for a Drama Desk award. Taylor also has the dubious distinction of having starred in Broadway's most infamous flop, Moose Murders, where she filled in, with less than a week's rehearsal, for veteran character actress Eve Arden who had jumped from the sinking ship.[6]

In 1983 Taylor had one of her greatest theatrical moments in Breakfast with Les and Bess, which prompted the New York magazine theatre critic John Simon to sing, "...Miss Taylor is one of the few utterly graceful, attractive, elegant and technically accomplished actresses in our theatre...seeing her may turn you, like me, into a Taylor freak..."[7]

Concentrating on theatre, television took a backseat but she did take on the role of Denise Cavanaugh on the long running soap opera, The Edge of Night, who was so evil, she killed herself just to frame her husband. Then encouraged by her acting coach, the legendary Stella Adler, Taylor took a role that would make her well known: Tom Hanks' sexy, demanding boss in the 1980s sitcom Bosom Buddies.[8]

The actress' rising fame, built slowly over many years, led her to roles that made her a well known name in the industry. She proved herself to be equally adept both at comedy and at drama.[5] In 1985, she co-starred with Lisa Eilbacher in the ABC detective series Me and Mom. Two years later, she played opposite Alan Arkin in the short-lived ABC sitcom Harry, in which she received "starring" billing. Then, in 1990, Taylor reunited with former Bosom Buddies executive producers Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett for a role on their ABC sitcom Going Places, playing grand dame television producer Dawn St. Claire for the show's first thirteen episodes. From 1992 to 1993, she starred in Norman Lear's The Powers That Be with John Forsythe and David Hyde Pierce, playing the wife of Forsythe's character, a the U.S. senator. In early 1994, she joined the cast of Saved by the Bell: The College Years as Dean Susan McMann, just episodes before its cancellation. Following this was her role as high-powered newspaper editor Camilla Dane on the ABC/NBC sitcom The Naked Truth; Taylor was one of the few cast members to last all the way through the show's run, from 1995 to 1998.

She played the part of rapacious Judge Roberta Kittleson on The Practice. Originally intended to be a one-time appearance,[9] the role lasted from 1998 to 2003. She won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in 1999; in her acceptance speech, she brought the house down when she lifted the Emmy over her head and said, "Overnight!" Taylor thanked David E. Kelley, The Practice's producer/writer and creator, for "giving me a chariot to ride up here on: A woman who puts a flag on the moon for women over 40—who can think, who can work, who are successes, who can cook, and who can COOK!".

Taylor was also nominated for an Emmy for her recurring role on AMC's The Lot, and has been nominated four times since 2003, for best supporting actress for her role on the TV series Two and a Half Men, playing Evelyn Harper, the snobbish, overbearing mother of Charlie Sheen's and Jon Cryer's characters. Taylor's television movie and series guest roles have been extensive and include appearances on ER, Veronica's Closet, and recurring roles on Ally McBeal; Monk and as billionaire Peggy Peabody on The L Word.

Taylor's movie roles have included Reese Witherspoon's character's tough Harvard law professor in the 2001 comedy Legally Blonde; Tina Fey's character's mother in Baby Mama; The Truman Show; Happy Accidents; Next Stop Wonderland; George of the Jungle; The Wedding Date; How to Make an American Quilt; Romancing the Stone; and D.E.B.S..

Taylor's animated roles include that of Prudence, the castle's majordomo and love interest of the Grand Duke, in Disney's Cinderella II and Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. She also played a role in the animated show American Dad! as Francine's biological mother.

Holland Taylor in 2008.

Taylor's first love remains the theatre and she began researching, writing and producing a one-woman play about the late Texas Governor Ann Richards in 2009.[5] The two-act play, originally titled Money, Marbles, and Chalk, starring Taylor as Richards, was first workshopped in May 2010 at The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, Texas.[10] It was later retitled Ann: An Affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards[11] and opened in Chicago November 16, 2011 and was billed as a "pre-Broadway" engagement. It is scheduled to play at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. December 17, 2011 through January 15, 2012. Ann next opened on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on March 7th, 2013 and is scheduled to run until September 1st, 2013. For this role, Taylor was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play.[12]

Charitable work[edit]

Taylor has been a long-time, major supporter of Aid For AIDS in Los Angeles, serving on their Honorary Board and as an ongoing participant in their largest annual fundraiser, Best In Drag Show, among other fundraising efforts.[13]

Emmy Award nominations[edit]

YearCategoryTitle of WorkResult
1999Outstanding Supporting Actress - Drama SeriesThe PracticeWon
2000Outstanding Supporting Actress - Drama SeriesThe PracticeNominated
2000Outstanding Guest Actress - Comedy SeriesThe LotNominated
2005Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy SeriesTwo and a Half MenNominated
2007Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy SeriesTwo and a Half MenNominated
2008Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy SeriesTwo and a Half MenNominated
2010Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy SeriesTwo and a Half MenNominated

Tony Award nominations[edit]

YearCategoryTitle of WorkResult
2013Tony Award for Best Actress in a PlayAnnNominated



1969J.T.Mrs. Arnold
1976The Next ManTV Interviewer
19793 by Cheever: O Youth and Beauty!Beverly
1980FameClaudia Van Doren (Uncredited)
1982The Royal Romance of Charles and DianaFrances Shand Kydd
1982I Was a Mail Order BrideDottie Birmington
1983Reuben, Reuben
1984Concealed EnemiesMrs. Marbury
1984Romancing the StoneGloria Hart
1985Key ExchangeMrs. Fanshaw
1985Perry Mason ReturnsPaula Gordon
1985The Jewel of the NileGloria Hart
1987Tales from the Hollywood Hills: Natica JacksonErnestine King
1988She's Having a BabySarah Briggs
1990People Like UsDolly
1990Big Deals
1991The Rape of Doctor WillisDr. Greenway
1993Cop and a HalfCaptain Rubio
1994Betrayal of TrustMary Shelton
1994In the Best of Families: Marriage, Pride & MadnessFlorence Newsom
1994The Counterfeit ContessaWallace Everett
1994The FavorMaggie Sand
1995A Walton WeddingAunt Flo
1995Awake to DangerDr. Joyce Lindley
1995With Hostile IntentLois Baxter
1995To Die ForCarol Stone
1995How to Make an American QuiltMrs. Rubens
1995Last Summer in the HamptonsDavis
1995Steal Big Steal LittleMona Rowland-Downey
1996One Fine DayRita
1997George of the JungleBeatrice Stanhope
1997Just WriteEmma Jeffreys
1997BettyCrystal Ball
1998The Unknown CyclistCelia (Uncredited)
1998The Truman ShowTruman's Mother
1998Next Stop WonderlandPiper Castleton
1999My Last LoveMarnie Morton
1999The Sex MonsterMuriel
2000The Spiral StaircaseEmma Warren
2000Happy AccidentsTherapist, Maggie Ann "Meg" Ford
2000Mail to the ChiefKatherine Horner
2000Keeping the FaithBonnie Rose
2000The Deadly Look of LoveEvelyn McGinnis
2001Strange FrequencyMarge Crowley (segment "Room Service")
2001Town & CountryMistress of Ceremonies
2001Legally BlondeProfessor Stromwell
2001The Day Reagan Was ShotNancy Reagan
2002Fits and Starts
2002Cinderella II: Dreams Come TruePrudence (voice)
2002Home RoomDr. Hollander
2002Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost DreamsGrandmother
2003Spy Kids 3-D: Game OverGrandmother
2003IntentJudge Cavallo
2004D.E.B.S.Mrs. Petrie
2005The Wedding DateBunny
2007Cinderella III: A Twist in TimePrudence (voice)
2008Baby MamaRose
2010The Chosen OneRuth


1967Love Is a Many Splendored ThingTrish Wanamaker (1971)
1970SomersetSgt. Ruth Winter (unknown episodes, 1973)
1975Beacon HillMarilyn Gardiner (unknown episodes)
1975KojakElizabeth (1 episode, 1977)
1967The Edge of NightDenise Norwood Cavanaugh, R.N. (1977–1978, 1980)
1981ABC Afterschool SpecialEpisode: "My Mother Was Never a Kid" Felicia Martin (1 episode, 1981)
1981Bosom BuddiesRuth Dunbar (21 episodes, 1980–1981)
1970All My ChildrenJill Ollinger (unknown episodes, 1981–1982)
1983The Love BoatKathy Brighton (1 episode, 1983)
1984Kate & AllieLinda Cabot (1 episode, 1984)
1985Me and MomZena Hunnicutt (unknown episodes)
1987HarryIna Duckett, R.N. (unknown episodes)
1987Perfect StrangersOlivia Crawford (1 episode, 1987)
1987CBS Summer PlayhouseFran Grogan (2 episodes, 1987–1989)
1989Murder, She WroteWinifred Thayer (1 episode, 1989)
1990WiseguyAllison Royce (1 episode, 1990)
1990Going PlacesDawn St. Clare (3 episodes, 1990–1991)
1992The Powers That BeMargaret Powers (20 episodes, 1992–1993)
1993Saved by the Bell: The College YearsDean Susan McMann (7 episodes, 1993–1994)
1994Diagnosis: MurderAgent Gretchen McCord (2 episodes, 1994–1995)
1995The Naked TruthCamilla Dane (23 episodes, 1995–1998)
1996Something So RightAbigail (1 episode, 1996)
1998The PracticeJudge Roberta Kittleson (29 episodes, 1998-2003)
1998Veronica's ClosetMillicent (2 episodes, 1998)
1998Buddy FaroOlivia Vandermeer (1 episode, 1998)
1999ERPhyllis Farr (1 episode, 1999)
1999The LotLetitia DeVine (unknown episodes)
1999Ally McBeal2nd Woman in Face Bra Infomercial / Judge Roberta Kittleson (2 episodes, 1999–2000)
2000Strong MedicineLillian Pynchon (1 episode, 2000)
2000DAGKatherine Twigg (1 episode, 2000)
2000The Living EdensNarrator (1 episode, 2000)
2001The Fighting FitzgeraldsRose (1 episode, 2001)
2001Strange FrequencyMarge Crowley (1 episode, 2001)
2002Fillmore!Mrs. Cornwall (1 episode, 2002)
2004The L WordPeggy Peabody (8 episodes, 2004–2008)
2005MonkPeggy Davenport (2 episodes, 2005–2007)
2003Two and a Half MenEvelyn Harper (100 episodes, 2003–Present)
2007American Dad!Mrs. Dawson (voice, episode "Big Trouble in Little Langley ")
2012Electric CityRuth Orwell
2012McDonald's Thanksgiving ParadeGrand Marshal





Los Angeles


  1. ^ a b c Bobbin, Jay (2005-08-21). "Checking in with Holland Taylor". The Free Lance-Star. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Holland Taylor Biography (1943-)". FilmReference.com. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  3. ^ http://articles.mcall.com/1989-05-02/news/2692383_1_nursing-center-attorney-c-tracy-taylor-liberty-nursing
  4. ^ "Holland Taylor returns to role in 'Naked Truth'". The Vindicator. 1997-08-11. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c Rhodes, Joe (October 5, 2008). "Growing From Too Young to Grande Dame". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ Rich, Frank (23 February 1983). "Stage: 'Moose Murders,' A Brand Of Whodunnit". The New York Times (NYTimes.com). Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  7. ^ Simons, John (8 August 1983). "Uppie with Auntie". New York. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  8. ^ Byrne, Bridget (8 November 2004). "Stirring Things Up". Toledo Blade. Google.com. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  9. ^ Shishter, Gail (14 October 1999). "'Practice's' Holland Taylor still stunned by Emmy win". The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). Google.com. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  10. ^ Ron Oliveira (28 April 2010). "A Play About Ann Richards". KEYE-TV. 
  11. ^ "A Letter from Holland Taylor". The North Hollywood Arts Center. 
  12. ^ "Holland Taylor to Lead Pre-Broadway Run of ANN at Kennedy Center, 12/17-1/15". BroadwayWorld.com. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  13. ^ "Partners/Celebrity Support". Aid For AIDS. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 

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