Born: January 14, 1943
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Holland Virginia Taylor (born January 14, 1943) is an American actress and playwright. She won the 1999 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Judge Roberta Kittleson on the ABC drama The Practice (1998-2003). She is also known for her role as Evelyn Harper on the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men (2003-2015).
Taylor's other notable television roles include the sitcoms Bosom Buddies (1980-1982) and The Powers That Be (1992-1993). Her film appearances include One Fine Day (1996), George of the Jungle (1997), The Truman Show (1998), and Legally Blonde (2001). She also wrote and starred in the solo play Ann, based on the life and work of Ann Richards, for which she was nominated for the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.
Taylor was born in 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Virginia (née Davis), a painter, and C. Tracy Taylor, an attorney. She is the youngest of three girls in the family; her sisters are Patricia and Pamela, and through Pamela, she is the aunt of director Brad Anderson. She attended high school at Westtown School, a Quaker boarding school in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She majored in drama at Bennington College graduating in 1964, before moving to New York City to become an actress.
Taylor began in the theater. Throughout the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, 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. In 1983, Taylor appeared 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..."
Taylor took the role of Denise Cavanaugh on the soap opera, The Edge of Night, who killed herself just to frame her husband. Then encouraged by her acting coach, Stella Adler, Taylor took a role that would make her well known: Tom Hanks' sexy, demanding boss in the 1980s sitcom Bosom Buddies.
She proved herself to be equally adept at both comedy and drama. 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. 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 13 episodes. From 1992-93, 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 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 1995-98.
She played the part of Judge Roberta Kittleson on The Practice. Originally intended to be a one-time appearance, the role lasted from 1998 to 2003. She won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in 1999; in her acceptance speech, she is remembered for claiming the statue and exclaiming, "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 and Jon Cryer's characters. Taylor's television movie and series guest roles have been extensive and include appearances on ER and Veronica's Closet, and recurring roles on Ally McBeal and 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, D.E.B.S., Cop and a Half, and One Fine Day.
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.
Taylor began researching, writing, and producing a one-woman play about the late Texas Governor Ann Richards in 2009. 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. It was later retitled Ann: An Affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards and opened in Chicago November 16, 2011, and was billed as a "pre-Broadway" engagement. It played at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, from December 17, 2011, through January 15, 2012. The show next opened on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on March 7, 2013. For this role, Taylor was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play.
On November 30, 2015, while answering a question about marriage, in a radio interview with WNYC, Taylor revealed that she was in a relationship with a younger woman and that most of her relationships have been with women. Her partner was later reported to be actress Sarah Paulson. In March 2016, Taylor and Paulson's relationship was confirmed when Paulson stated during an interview that they had been dating since early 2015.
Taylor has been a 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.
|Year||Category||Title of Work||Result|
|1999||Outstanding Supporting Actress - Drama Series||The Practice||Won|
|2000||Outstanding Supporting Actress - Drama Series||The Practice||Nominated|
|2000||Outstanding Guest Actress - Comedy Series||The Lot||Nominated|
|2005||Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series||Two and a Half Men||Nominated|
|2007||Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series||Two and a Half Men||Nominated|
|2008||Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series||Two and a Half Men||Nominated|
|2010||Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series||Two and a Half Men||Nominated|
|Year||Category||Title of Work||Result|
|2013||Best Actress in a Play||Ann||Nominated|
|1976||The Next Man||TV Interviewer|
|1979||3 by Cheever: O Youth and Beauty!||Beverly|
|1980||Fame||Claudia Van Doren||Uncredited|
|1984||Concealed Enemies||Mrs. Marbury|
|1984||Romancing the Stone||Gloria Hart|
|1985||Key Exchange||Mrs. Fanshaw|
|1985||The Jewel of the Nile||Gloria Hart|
|1987||Tales from the Hollywood Hills: Natica Jackson||Ernestine King|
|1988||She's Having a Baby||Sarah Briggs|
|1993||Cop and a Half||Captain Rubio|
|1994||The Favor||Maggie Sand|
|1995||To Die For||Carol Stone|
|1995||How to Make an American Quilt||Mrs. Rubens|
|1995||Last Summer in the Hamptons||Davis|
|1995||Steal Big Steal Little||Mona Rowland-Downey|
|1996||One Fine Day||Rita|
|1997||George of the Jungle||Beatrice Stanhope|
|1997||Just Write||Emma Jeffreys|
|1998||The Unknown Cyclist||Celia||Uncredited|
|1998||The Truman Show||Truman's Mother|
|1998||Next Stop Wonderland||Piper Castleton|
|1999||The Sex Monster||Muriel|
|2000||Happy Accidents||Maggie Ann "Meg" Ford|
|2000||Mail to the Chief||Katherine Horner|
|2000||Keeping the Faith||Bonnie Rose|
|2001||Town & Country||Mistress of Ceremonies|
|2001||Legally Blonde||Professor Stromwell|
|2002||Fits and Starts|
|2002||Cinderella II: Dreams Come True||Prudence (voice)|
|2002||Home Room||Dr. Hollander|
|2002||Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams||Grandma Helga Avellan|
|2003||Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over||Grandma Helga Avellan|
|2005||The Wedding Date||Bunny|
|2007||Cinderella III: A Twist in Time||Prudence (voice)|
|2010||The Chosen One||Ruth|
|1969||J.T.||Mrs. Arnold||Television film|
|1971||Love Is a Many Splendored Thing||Trish Wanamaker||Unknown episodes|
|1973||Somerset||Sgt. Ruth Winter||Unknown episodes|
|1975||Beacon Hill||Marilyn Gardiner||Unknown episodes|
|1977-1980||The Edge of Night||Denise Norwood Cavanaugh, R.N.||Unknown episodes|
|1980-1981||Bosom Buddies||Ruth Dunbar||21 episodes|
|1981||ABC Afterschool Special||Felicia Martin||Episode: "My Mother Was Never a Kid"|
|1981-1983||All My Children||Jill Ollinger||Unknown episodes|
|1982||The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana||Frances Shand Kydd||Television film|
|1982||I Was a Mail Order Bride||Dottie Birmington||Television film|
|1983||The Love Boat||Kathy Brighton||1 episode|
|1984||Kate & Allie||Linda Cabot||1 episode|
|1985||Me and Mom||Zena Hunnicutt||Unknown episodes|
|1985||Perry Mason Returns||Paula Gordon||Television film|
|1987||Harry||Ina Duckett, R.N.||Unknown episodes|
|1987||Perfect Strangers||Olivia Crawford||1 episode|
|1987-1989||CBS Summer Playhouse||Fran Grogan||2 episodes|
|1989||Murder, She Wrote||Winifred Thayer||1 episode|
|1990||Wiseguy||Allison Royce||1 episode|
|1990||People Like Us||Dolly||Television film|
|1990||Big Deals||Television film|
|1990-1991||Going Places||Dawn St. Clare||3 episodes|
|1991||The Rape of Doctor Willis||Dr. Greenway||Television film|
|1992-1993||The Powers That Be||Margaret Powers||20 episodes|
|1993||With Hostile Intent||Lois Baxter||Television film|
|1993-1994||Saved by the Bell: The College Years||Dean Susan McMann||7 episodes|
|1994||Betrayal of Trust||Mary Shelton||Television film|
|1994||In the Best of Families: Marriage, Pride & Madness||Florence Newsom||Television film|
|1994||The Counterfeit Contessa||Wallace Everett||Television film|
|1994-1995||Diagnosis: Murder||Agent Gretchen McCord||2 episodes|
|1995||A Walton Wedding||Aunt Flo||Television film|
|1995||Awake to Danger||Dr. Joyce Lindley||Television film|
|1995-1998||The Naked Truth||Camilla Dane||23 episodes|
|1996||Something So Right||Abigail||1 episode|
|1998-2003||The Practice||Judge Roberta Kittleson||29 episodes|
|1998||Veronica's Closet||Millicent||2 episodes|
|1998||Buddy Faro||Olivia Vandermeer||1 episode|
|1999||ER||Phyllis Farr||1 episode|
|1999||The Lot||Letitia DeVine||Unknown episodes|
|1999||My Last Love||Marnie Morton||Television film|
|1999-2000||Ally McBeal||2nd Woman in Face Bra Infomercial /
Judge Roberta Kittleson
|2000||Strong Medicine||Lillian Pynchon||1 episode|
|2000||DAG||Katherine Twigg||1 episode|
|2000||The Living Edens||Narrator||1 episode|
|2000||The Spiral Staircase||Emma Warren||Television film|
|2000||The Deadly Look of Love||Evelyn McGinnis||Television film|
|2001||Strange Frequency||Marge Crowley||Television film; segment: "Room Service"|
|2001||The Fighting Fitzgeralds||Rose||1 episode|
|2001||The Day Reagan Was Shot||Nancy Reagan||Television film|
|2002||Fillmore!||Mrs. Cornwall (voice)||1 episode|
|2003-2015||Two and a Half Men||Evelyn Harper||101 episodes|
|2004-2008||The L Word||Peggy Peabody||8 episodes|
|2005-2007||Monk||Peggy Davenport||2 episodes|
|2007||American Dad!||Mrs. Dawson (voice)||Episode: "Big Trouble in Little Langley"|
|2012||Electric City||Ruth Orwell (voice)||20 episodes|
|2012||McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade||Grand Marshal||Television special|
|2017||Mr. Mercedes||Ida Silver||9 episodes|
|2017||The Orville||Jeannie Mercer||Episode: "Command Performance"|
|2017||Speechless||Andrea||Episode: "B-R-I-- BRITISH I-N-V-- INVASION"|
|2017||Good Behavior||Alice||2 episodes|