By Steve Ginsburg
WASHINGTON | (Reuters) – Holland Taylor offers no apologies for never settling down, getting married or having children.
The 68-year-old Emmy-winning actress, currently starring in her one-woman show “Ann” at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, simply never had the time.
“I always did think I would be married and settled down by now but maybe I ain’t ready,” she said, sounding a lot like the over-the-top mother of Jon Cryer she portrays in the CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men.” “Then again, maybe I won’t ever be ready.”
Taylor’s career blossomed in her mid-30s and the New Yorker with Pennsylvania roots has been on a dizzying pace ever since, starring on the stage, in television and on film.
Having a family just wasn’t in the script.
“I’m very, very happy. I just never was the marrying kind,” she said. “I am a serial monogamist. I don’t have multiple relationships at once.
“I’ve had a long life and a lot of relationships and not one of them do I wish — well, I take that back — there are a couple I could have done without,” she added with a chuckle.
Taylor’s current love is “Ann,” which is based on the life of quick-witted, sharp-tongued former Texas Gov. Ann Richards.
Seconds after a recent performance at the Kennedy Center, the audience was on its feet, cheering wildly for the show and its star.
While the applause was quick that night, overall it was a long time coming for Taylor. The actress conceived the show nearly six years ago and has been researching it and writing it ever since. She admits to being captivated about the dynamic Richards, who died in 2006 of esophageal cancer.
“I had a lot of creative feelings about her,” Taylor told Reuters. “If I had been a painter, it would have been a painting. If I had been a composer, it would have been a piece of music. I had to do something with my feelings about this loss.”
Taylor said the idea of taking Richards’ story to the stage “came to me very suddenly.”
“I was literally driving to work at my television show one day and I had to pull off the highway onto the service road,” she recalled. “I had the idea it should be a play because of her liveliness and her contact with the audience.
“She herself said, ‘I was good as a candidate over the years only because I connect with people one on one.’ I decided right then a play is how it should be done.”
NO LOOKING BACK
Taylor has perfected Richards’ Southern drawl and eerily looks like the Texas politician whose energizing keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention elevated her to widespread prominence.
The actress insists she brought Richards’ story to the stage not because she could play the role but to celebrate the politician’s life.
“She was not a person who looked back. Ever,” Taylor said. “She did not revisit things. She was rolling along, like a wheel that goes under and then over. Under and over. But always moving forward.
“If she fell, she fell forward. And that is not the way I am. I get very upset. I can get very waylaid. I get blue. I can become chicken little.
“And now when I do, I think, ‘What would Ann Richards think of this behavior?’”
During breaks in the show’s pre-Broadway tour — it is playing now through January 15 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts — Taylor will continue her role on “Two and a Half Men.” She is glad its former star, Charlie Sheen, survived his firing and public meltdown earlier this year and has moved on.
“It was painful for me to see him in pain and he did something very, very dangerous by first of all, obviously doing drugs to that degree is dangerous, but quitting very violently is very dangerous too,” she said.
“And he went through really an amazing thing out in public. I just was terrified for him. I think everybody was. But he got through it alive which is all anybody wanted.”
Taylor said she would see his daily rants and described them as “very scary.”
“There were a few days there where I would open the paper, and I would be so frightened to see that something really terrible happened,” she said. “I’m glad he escaped that.”
Holland Taylor is in a good spot these days, healthy, happy and with more job offers than she knows what do with. Just don’t expect her to slow down anytime soon.
With a laugh, she said she would “commit an ax murder” before attempting to conceal her age.
“It would seem so silly,” she said backstage at the Kennedy Center. “I really, truly genuinely struggled quite hard until I was in my mid-30s. “I personally was at sea.
“But that’s long gone. I’m doing OK. I’m better than OK.”
Watch a Clip From “Two and a Half Men”: