Patricia Richardson spent eight years starring with Tim Allen in the hilarious sitcom “Home Improvement” back in the 1990s. Now, Richardson is opening up about the “immediate” she had on-screen with Allen from the very beginning.
Allen played Tim “The Toolman” Taylor on the show, and Richardson was cast as his wife Jill.
“[The network said] we need to have someone that challenges him and is as much a feminist as he is a masculinist,” Richardson told Entertainment Tonight. “There has to be an equal struggle.”
She went on to recall how she got the part.
“They called me in and said, ‘There is this guy, he’s a standup, he won an award, he has a special on Showtime,” she said of Allen. “I had never heard of him, I had never heard of that show and I had already seen one show that had failed… that had been done with a standup and a family and everything.”
Richardson admitted that she nearly passed on the role because she wanted to start doing more serious parts.
“I didn’t want to do any more sitcoms, and I certainly did not want to be a thankless mom,” she explained. “I didn’t audition for it. I came in and they said, ‘We want you to start tomorrow.'”
As soon as Richardson met Allen, however, their chemistry was obvious.
“Immediately, I loved him,” she said.
From the very beginning, it was clear to the actress that the show resonated with fans.
“The primary thing I saw the most in the mail was, ‘Are you looking through our windows? The things you and Tim fight about are just like our family,'” Richardson remembered. “Or, ‘I get it, I have three sons too,’ or, ‘This is so freaky, because it’s just like our family!'”
“It was very gratifying to me, because Tim and I worked so hard,” she continued.
Though Richardson enjoyed her time on the show, she decided that it was time to walk away after the eighth season in 1999, despite pressure from the network and from Allen to stay.
“So then they went to Tim, and they said let’s do it with dead Jill,” she said. “And then Tim was like, I don’t think we can do that. So then he went out and said well, I think it’s time to end ‘Home Improvement.'”
While Richardson reunited with Allen in 2016 for an episode of his show “Last Man Standing, she admitted that she fears that he has “never really forgiven me for not wanting to do the ninth year.”
“He loved Tim Taylor,” she said. “Tim Taylor was this happily married man with his great boys and great life, and so he wanted that show to go on forever.”