Born in Bethesda Naval Hospital, where her father was a test pilot; she grew up a "Navy brat" and moved numerous times throughout her childhood.
Classmates at SMU included Kathy Bates, Powers Booth, and playwrights Jack Heffner and Beth Henley; she later appeared in several productions of Heffner's Vanities and in Henley's 1982 Broadway play The Wake of Jamie Foster.
Made her Broadway debut in the 1974 revival of Gypsy, starring Angela Lansbury, in the roles of a waitress and a Hollywood blonde, and as understudy for the part of Louise.
Is a spokesperson for the battle against PSP (a brain disease, progressive supranuclear palsy), which claimed the life of her father.
1994, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
1994, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
1995, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
1997, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
1998, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Female: Nominee
1998, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
1996, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress for a Comedy Series: Nominee
Roxanne Baker — Daughter
Ray Baker — Ex-husband
Henry Baker — Son
Joseph Baker — Son
Catherine Moseley — Sister
Elizabeth Richardson — Mother
Marianna Bates — Sister
Lynn Richardson — Sister
Laurence Baxter Richardson — Father
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, United States (BFA, 1972)