Patricia Richardson took center stage alongside comedian Tim Allen in the classic tv sitcom Home Improvement. This was Allen’s first major acting role, and in a recent interview, Richardson revealed she believes he didn’t get enough credit for the show’s massive success.
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“People don’t give Tim enough credit for the acting that he was doing,” Richardson told Fox News. She noted the hard work Allen put in to make sure he could keep up with the other actors in the cast. “He had never acted before. He was getting acting lessons on the side,” she explained.
Prior to her breakout role on television’s Home Improvement, Richardson had made appearances in Broadway, off-Broadway productions, and a few short-lived sitcoms. When Richardson first met Allen during their performance together she immediately noticed his considerable talent for acting.
Patricia Richardson recalls Tim Allen as being a strong actor from the start
“I’d worked in New York theater for years, and all actors sometimes have trouble listening,” Richardson recalled. “We’re self-conscious or we don’t know what we’re doing or we’re not really listening to the other person and just trusting ourselves to just respond.” She noted Allen himself had these problems early on.
“Tim did that immediately,” she explained. “Tim did that to such a degree that it scared him.” Richardson added, “Early on in the first couple of episodes, if I would cry about something — the first time that I did that — he was so listening, and he was always so involved and just bouncing back. We were always just so listening to each other and reacting that I saw tears starting to come out of his eyes.”
“And that totally freaked him out. And he stopped everything and just said, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute! She’s upset!'” she remembered with a laugh. “[Director John] Pasquin said, ‘She’s acting, Tim.'” Richardson and Allen had an immediate connection that was based on building a level of trust with one another. She remembers always standing up for him during their initial days filming the show.
“I kept telling the guys who would like, bug him, and after our first couple performances, they would be on him,” she recalled. “And I would be like, ‘Why are you giving him such a hard time? He’s brilliant. He’s better than a lot of actors I’ve worked with that are really actors in New York who don’t even look at you, you know?'” She added, “So, I was like, ‘Stop. Leave him alone. He’s doing great.’ And I always thought so.”
Tim Allen’s acting foundation on ‘Home Improvement’ led to a prolific acting career
Richardson also highlighted how Home Improvement challenged Allen to act out a larger scope of emotions than the classic stand-up roles, as he was tasked with delivering storylines that contained more profound topics.
“Obviously, Jerry Seinfeld was so charming and great,” she explained. “But I don’t think you ever had to see Jerry do something serious, you know, like losing his parents or talking about the death of his father or dealing with lots of things that we dealt with in that show.” Richardson feels like this acting foundation led to a more prolific career. “It’s not surprising that he went on to a long career of doing a lot of movies and other shows.”