At 75, Holland Taylor says she's an 'independent woman past the age when society expects anything' from her

Maggie Parker

If you think people stop having sex after a certain age, you’re wrong. Just ask Holland Taylor, who plays a sexually open older woman on Mr. Mercedes.

“Everybody I know that is a contemporary of mine is still alive in that way and is still in the world in that way,” she said of playing a character with sexual agency and passion when visiting the Build interview series to promote the show’s second season on Wednesday. “And the idea that there’s some cliché that it’s all over at a certain point and that you retreat from all of that in life is simply not true, so it’s nice to represent something more truthful about life.”

This outlook on age is most definitely one of the reasons, among many others, that her girlfriend, 43-year-old Sarah Paulson, is attracted to her.

And one thing the 75-year-old Taylor admires about Paulson is her talent. “Sarah is really an extraordinary film actress,” the award-winning actress told Yahoo during her Build visit.

“She thinks on camera and she keeps it very, very simple and she holds herself in a perfect balance and lets the thing happen in her as she speaks and as she thinks,” Taylor said of her girlfriend. “She’s not layering it on, she’s not pasting it on or pushing it out, she’s not forcing anything. She’s wonderful on the stage as well.”

Paulson is a Golden Globe and Emmy winner for her performance as Marcia Clark in American Crime Story. She also won Taylor’s praise with that performance. “There are still moments of Marcia Clark that were so pure and simple that I can replay them in my mind very accurately exactly how she did it,” the seasoned actress and fellow Emmy winner gushed.

Actress Holland Taylor (right, with Sarah Paulson) enjoys playing a character who hasn’t retreated because of her age. (Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images)
Actress Holland Taylor (right, with Sarah Paulson) enjoys playing a character who hasn’t retreated because of her age. (Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images)

The duo are most definitely a power couple. So the question is, will they ever work together? Possibly. “Well, it’s never come up. And, I mean, if it did I suppose we would,” Taylor admitted. However, she’s not sure mixing business with pleasure is safe. “Although I don’t know, I don’t know that that would be a good idea. I think sometimes when actors work with a partner, they think their own relationship is informing the work, but really that’s just how they feel inside, it doesn’t necessarily play. It’s hard.” That said, who would pass up an opportunity to work with Paulson or Taylor? “I mean, I doubt either of us would turn down the opportunity. It’s hard to imagine how it would be, though.”

One thing the couple, who started dating in 2015 but have faced criticism for their age difference, will always do together is watch The Crown. “As each episode would come to an end and we realize it was winding up, we’d go, ‘Nooo! Nooo! Nooo!’ And when that second year ended with Claire Foy, we just thought she was so sublime. We did see all that. We watch a few other things together.”

And while they watch each other’s work, they won’t do so together. “Separately, oh yes. But neither of us wants to see our own work. I’ve almost never seen something I’ve done.” That includes Mr. Mercedes, in which she plays the main character’s neighbor, a woman she can relate to on some levels. “I relate to her because I’m an independent woman past the age when society expects anything of me,” she said. “And I think so often people, women really, get to be a certain age where they just don’t care about things that they used to be driven by, how they looked, what heels they wore, how they dress to fill society’s expectations rather than for their own comfort. And at a certain age, you just see crazy old ladies do whatever they want, wear whatever they want. They dance to their own music and wear purple if they want to.” Taylor is in that place in her life right now. “I’ll pretty much do what I want, and it’s fun to play that.”

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