Who is Polly Holliday?

Polly Dean Holliday was born in Jasper, Alabama USA, on 2 July 1937 – her zodiac sign is Cancer, and she holds American nationality. She’s a retired actress, who hasn’t been active in the entertainment industry since 2010. Polly’s probably still remembered for her portrayal of Gloria, in the 1993 family comedy movie “Mrs Doubtfire”, directed by Chris Columbus, and which starred the late Robin Williams, Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan. It follows an actor who has just divorced his wife, and has disguised himself as a housekeeper to be closer to his children. The movie was a hit, winning 11 awards, including an Oscar for Best Make-up, while it was nominated for 10 other awards.

Early life and education

Polly was raised in Jasper alongside her brother Doyle, by their mother Velma Mabell Holliday (nee Cain) who was a housewife, and their father Ernest Sullivan Holliday who worked as a truck driver.

Polly grew up being interested in music, and began learning to play the piano at the age of four. She appeared in a couple of school plays while attending both elementary and high school, which were simply fun for her, and she wasn’t planning to pursue an acting career. She matriculated in 1955 and hasn’t spoken of her further education, however, it has been reported that she attended Alabama College for Women, and obtained her degree in 1959.

Before launching her career as an actress in 1974 aged 37, Polly worked as a piano teacher.

Roles in TV series

Polly made her debut TV series appearance in 1974, with her portrayal of Prison Inmate Leader, in the romantic drama “Search for Tomorrow”. The same year saw her appear in the episode “The 34th Star” of the mini-series “The American Parade”, while the year 1976 saw her play Mrs Cronkite, in the episode “Luke Was There” of the family drama “NBC Special Treat”.

Polly became famous after her portrayal of Flo Castleberry, one of the lead characters in the comedy “Alice”. It aired from 1976 to 1985 (Polly left the cast in 1980), was created by Robert Getchell, and also starred Linda Lavin, Vic Tayback and Beth Howland.

The series follows the life of an aspiring singer and her friends, and won 10 of the 32 awards for which it was nominated, including eight Primetime Emmy nominations. She then reprised her role in the comedy “Flo”, which follows the life of her character who’s now running a Texas bar – the series was nominated for three awards, including a Primetime Emmy. A couple of Polly’s following roles were in the romantic comedy “American Playhouse”, the comedy “Private Benjamin”, and the adventure comedy “Stir Crazy”.

In 1995, she was cast to play one of the main characters Momma Love, in the crime thriller drama “The Client”.

It was created by Judith Paige Mitchell, also starred JoBeth Williams and John Heard, and follows the lawyer Reggie Love, who’s a recovering alcoholic.

Polly’s final role in TV series before retiring from acting was her portrayal of Lillian Patterson in the family comedy “Home Improvement”. It starred Tim Allen, Earl Hindman and Taran Noah Smith, and follows the TV show host Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor and his wife, as they’re raising their three sons. It aired from 1991 to 1999, and won 43 awards including seven Primetime Emmys, while it was nominated for 62 other awards.

Roles in movies

Polly made her debut film appearance in 1974, when she portrayed Annabelle, in the drama “Wedding Band”. She was then invited to play supporting characters in several mediocre movies, such as the 1974 crime drama “The Catamount Killing”, the 1975 comedy “W. W. and the Dixie Dancekings”, and the 1975 romantic drama “Distance”.

Polly Holliday

She gained recognition in 1976, when invited to play the supporting character Dardis’ Secretary in the biographical historical drama “All the President’s Men”, based on the book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward and directed by Alan J. Pakula, starring Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford and Jack Warden. It follows two reporters of “The Washington Post” magazine, who revealed the details of the Watergate scandal, which then led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The movie was a huge hit, winning 17 awards including four Oscars, while it was nominated for 21 other awards.

The following years saw Polly appear in a couple of other popular movies, such as the 1979 comedy “You Can’t Take It with You”, the 1982 drama “Missing Children: A Mother’s Story”, and the 1984 fantasy horror comedy “Gremlins”.

In 1988, she played the supporting character Midge, in the romantic comedy “Moon Over Parador”, written by Leon Capetanos and Charles G. Booth, directed by Paul Mazursky, and which starred Richard Dreyfuss, Raul Julia and Sonia Braga. It follows a US actor who has been invited to perform in South American Parador, and was nominated for two awards. Polly then appeared in the 1998 adventure comedy drama “The Parent Trap”, the 2004 romantic comedy drama “It Must Be Love”, and the 2006 sports comedy drama “Stick It”.

She made her final film appearance in 2010, when she played Diane Plame, in the biographical thriller drama “Fair Game”. It was directed by Doug Liman, starred Naomi Watts, Seann Penn and Sonya Davison, and follows Valerie Plame who’s working for the CIA, and has learned that her identity has been leaked by the government, because her husband wrote an article in which he criticized the Bush administration.

The movie won four of the 12 awards for which it was nominated.

Other credits

Polly can be seen featured in various TV specials, such as the 1978 “The 30th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards”, the 1979 “The 31st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards”, and the 1990 “The 44th Annual Tony Awards”.

She has competed in several game-shows, including “The $10,000 Pyramid” and “Match Game”.

Polly has made a guest appearance in a couple of talk-shows, such as “The Jim Nabors Show”, “Dinah!” and “The Toni Tennille Show”.

Awards and nominations

Polly has won three awards; for her performance in the comedy series “Alice”, she won two Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Television Series, in 1979 and 1980.

In 1985, she won an Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress, for her performance in the movie “Gremlins”.

She was also nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards, and two other Golden Globes.

Polly was inducted into the Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame in 2000.

Love life and husband

Polly was amongst the most secretive of actresses while still active in the film industry, and to this day hasn’t spoken of any men (or women) whom she has perhaps been with.

Because of her age, there are many people who believe that she was once married, that it ended in a divorce after a couple of years, and that Polly has kept all the details hidden from the media’s attention. Some claim that she’s today married to a non-celebrity man, but this hasn’t been confirmed either.

There are others who claim that she’s lesbian, and that this is why she’s so secretive in regards of her love life, while still an active actress. Polly hasn’t addressed the rumors regarding her sexual orientation.

As of June 2021, she seems to be single, hasn’t married and doesn’t have children.

Hobbies and other interests

Polly’s highly religious, and is a member of the Episcopal Church.

She has been interested in politics since her 20s, and was a supporter of the Democrats for several decades, however, in 2019, she turned to the Republican Party, because she became dissatisfied with the Democrats.

Polly’s acting career had taken her all around the US, and she also got to visit various European and Asian countries.

It didn’t take her long to fall in love with travelling, and it quickly became her favorite hobby.

She has been into reading books since her early teenage years, and has always preferred those based on true events over all others. Polly has read various books regarding the history of the US, and the First and the Second World Wars.

She has her own favorite actors and actresses, some of whom are the late Heath Ledger, the late Robin Williams, and Meryl Streep; her favorite movies include “The Dark Knight”, “Good Will Hunting” and “Kramer vs. Kramer”.

Age, height and net worth

Polly’s age is 83. Her hair was once blonde, now gray, and she has brown eyes. Her height is 5ft 7ins (1.7m) and she weighs around 143lbs (65kgs).

As of June 2021, her net worth has been estimated at over $2 million.

Author

Robbie is currently a reporter for TheBiography based in Santa Monica, CA. Prior to joining TheBiography in December 2020, he was an entertainment reporter in People.

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