Polly Draper

Polly Carey Draper[2] (born June 15, 1955)[3] is an American actress, writer, producer, and director. Draper has received several awards, including a Writers Guild of America Award (WGA), and is noted for speaking in a "trademark throaty voice."[4][5] She first gained recognition for her starring role in the ABC primetime television drama Thirtysomething (1987–91).[3]

Polly Draper
Polly Carey Draper

(1955-06-15) June 15, 1955 (age 65)
EducationYale University (BA, MFA)
OccupationActress, director, writer, producer
Years active1985–present
Notable work
Thirtysomething (1987–91)
The Tic Code (1999)
The Naked Brothers Band (2007–09)
Stella's Last Weekend (2018)
Spouse(s)Kevin Wade (1983–90)
Michael Wolff (1992–present)[1]
ChildrenNat Wolff
Alex Wolff
Parent(s)William Henry Draper III
Phyllis C. Draper
RelativesJesse Draper (niece)
Tim Draper (brother)
Rebecca Draper (sister)
William Henry Draper Jr. (grandfather)

Draper co-starred in her screenwriting debut The Tic Code (1998) and Off-Broadway in her play Getting into Heaven (2003). In mid-2004, she wrote her directing debut The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie, and created and produced the Nickelodeon musical comedy series The Naked Brothers Band (2007–09), which won her a WGA for Children's Script: Long Form or Special.[6] Draper also wrote, directed, and co-starred in Stella's Last Weekend (2018).

Personal lifeEdit

Draper was born in Gary, Indiana, to Phyllis (née Culbertson),[7] a Peace Corps administrator, and William Henry Draper III, a venture capitalist who was the former CEO of the United Nations Development Programme and president and chairman of the US Export-Import Bank under president Ronald Reagan's administration in the 1980s.[8][9] She is the sister of venture capitalist Tim Draper[10] and Rebecca Draper, and granddaughter to banker and diplomat William Henry Draper Jr.[11][12]

Draper grew up in Chicago, Illinois, as well as in Palo Alto and Arlington, California.[13] She earned her B.A. from Yale University (1977) and Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama (1980).[8]

Following a seven-year marriage with playwright Kevin Wade,[5] Draper remarried musician Michael Wolff after meeting him in 1991 when making a cameo appearance on the syndicated late-night talk show Arsenio Hall, where Wolff served as the bandleader.[14] Wolff's life with Tourette syndrome influenced The Tic Code; he provided the score.[13][15] She and Wolff have two sons, Nat and Alex; the latter three played the father and sons in The Naked Brothers Band series and film, which also featured Draper's niece, Jesse, as the band's babysitter.[15] More recently, she starred with her sons as their mother in the film Stella's Last Weekend (2018).

Draper is a member of the Democratic Party; she voted for Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry and Barack Obama in 2004 and 2008, respectively.[16][17] Her father and late grandfather, William Henry Draper Jr., were members of the Republican Party.[18] Draper's late mother, Phyllis, was also a friend of former US first lady Barbara Bush's (also deceased) since the late 1980s; the two first met when Draper's father was leading the United Nations.


Draper began her acting career appearing Off-Broadway, including a role in Split (1980). She later starred as Ellyn Warren in the ABC television drama Thirtysomething (1987–91),[5][15] and in 1993, as Adrian in the NBC television movie adaptation of Danielle Steel's Heartbeat.

She starred in the off-Broadway production of Four Dogs and a Bone (1993), and also made appearances on TV shows, such as The Larry Sanders Show (1998); Monk; and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, both in 2002; as well as in the Lifetime TV movie Too Young to Marry in 2007.[3][8]

Draper played Laura Caraday in her screenwriting debut The Tic Code (1999). In 2003, she starred in, provided lead vocals and lyrics for her playwriting Getting Into Heaven (2003) at The Flea Theater; the music was also composed and performed by her husband.[19] She played Nina in the Broadway production of Brooklyn Boy in 2005.[20] In addition, Draper was the creator, showrunner, head writer, and director of the hit Nickelodeon musical comedy series The Naked Brothers Band (2007–09), which was adapted by the pilot movie of the same name that she originally wrote and directed as an independent film in mid-2004.[3]

In 2010, she appeared with a recurring guest role in the Showtime comedic television drama The Big C. Draper directed her youngest son's play What Would Woody Do? (2010) at The Flea Theater.[citation needed] In 2011, she also wrote and starred in an episode of the Current TV science fiction series Bar Karma and appeared in the play My Brilliant Divorce (2012) at the Bay Street Theater. Since then, she appeared in the film Side Effects and in the CBS television drama Golden Boy, both in 2013. In 2014, Draper appeared in the film Obvious Child.[21]

Draper portrayed Sally in her film, Stella's Last Weekend, released in 2018. In 2020, she appeared in Emma Seligman's film Shiva Baby as the main character's mother, Debbie. IndieWire said that "Draper's refreshing take on a Jewish mother brightens" the film,[22] and Variety called her performance "delightfully witty".[23] Edge said that "Draper deserves awards attention for her amusing yet keen embodiment of the Jewish mother".[24] Rough Cut compares her performance in the film to her similar role in Obvious Child.[25]


In 1988, Draper’s work on Thirtysomething earned her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.[8] In addition, Four Dogs and a Bone (1993) won her a New York Magazine award for Best Broadway Actress.[26] For The Tic Code (1998), she received the Bronze Gryphon award for Best Actress at the Giffoni Film Festival.[8]

Draper obtained the Audience Award for a Family Feature Film for The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie at the Hamptons International Film Festival in 2005.[27] She received two Writers Guild Award nominations for The Naked Brothers Band TV series (2007–09). The first, in 2007, Draper was nominated in the section of Children's Episodic Shows & Specials for the episode "Nat is a Stand Up Guy".[28] She also won the Children's Script: Long Form or Special category for the TV movie "Polar Bears" in 2009.[6][29]

In August 2018, Stella's Last Weekend won Draper the Grand Prize at the San Antonio Film Festival.[30]


  1. ^ Warrick, Pamela (June 11, 2007). "Look Who's ... Fiftysomething". People. Archived from the original on 2012-05-30. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  2. ^ "Polly Carey Draper Is Bride". The New York Times. August 21, 1983. Archived from the original on 2014-03-18. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Polly Draper at IMDb
  4. ^ Walsh-Boyle, Megan (February 2, 2007). "Polly Draper: The Naked Brothers' Mother Returns to TV!". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 2011-08-27. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Schindehette, Susan; Alexander, Michael (May 8, 1989). "Single Again, Thirtysomething's Polly Draper Brushes Up on Becoming a Sexy Working Girl". People. Archived from the original on 2014-03-04. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Winners Announced for 2009 Writers Guild Awards". Writers Guild of America. February 7, 2009. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  7. ^ Profile Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine, bizjournals.com; accessed March 15, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Polly Draper profile at". FilmReference.com. Archived from the original on 2012-01-23. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  9. ^ Europa Publications (2003). The International Who's Who 2004. Routledge. p. 454. ISBN 1857432177.
  10. ^ Saracevic, Al (January 26, 2007). "The Technology Chronicles: Six degrees of Tim Draper". SFGate. Archived from the original on 2009-02-02. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  11. ^ Lim, Jason (June 3, 2011). "Baidu Early Investor, Tim Draper is the Risk Master". TechNode. Archived from the original on 2012-01-24. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  12. ^ PV, Sahad (October 16, 2008). "Next Tech Giant Will Be A Cellphone Application Company: Tim Draper". VCCircle. Archived from the original on March 16, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Meyer, Carla (June 24, 2011). "Free Expression/Polly Draper drew on her husband's Tourette's syndrome for "The Tic Code"". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  14. ^ Kaufman, Joanne (October 29, 1990). "Late Night Becomes Electric with the Hip Help of Arsenio Hall's Bandleader, Shaggy-Dog Playboy Michael Wolff". People. Archived from the original on 2014-03-12. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  15. ^ a b c Lee, Felicia R. (January 25, 2007). "A TV Family Bound by Blood and a Band". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  16. ^ "Polly Draper - Political Campaign Contributions - 2004 Election Cycle". CampaignMoney.com. July 27, 2004. Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  17. ^ "Polly Draper - Political Campaign Contributions - 2008 Election Cycle". CampaignMoney.com. September 6, 2007 – September 22, 2008. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  18. ^ Hess, Jerry N. (January 11, 1972). "Oral History Interview with General William H. Draper Jr". The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. National Archives and Records Administration. Archived from the original on 2012-07-16. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  19. ^ Finkle, David (July 3, 2003). "Getting Into Heaven: Review". TheaterMania. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  20. ^ Gans, Andrew; Kenneth Jones (December 6, 2004). "Polly Draper Replaces Dana Reeve in Broadway's Brooklyn Boy". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  21. ^ 'Obvious Child': A Momentous Film Of Small, Embarrassing Truths, archived from the original on 2018-02-28, retrieved 2018-02-27
  22. ^ Dry, Jude (2020-03-24). "'Shiva Baby' Review: A Sugar Daddy Crashes a Jewish Funeral in This Lively Queer Comedy". IndieWire. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
  23. ^ Laffly, Tomris (2020-09-14). "'Shiva Baby' Review: A Fast, Tightly Choreographed Farce with Confidently Sharp Jewish Humor". Variety. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
  24. ^ "Queer Films to Look Out For from LA's Outfest (Virtual This Year)". EDGE Media Network. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
  25. ^ White, Claire (2020-08-14). "Review: The Adolescent Panic of 'Shiva Baby'". ROUGH CUT. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
  26. ^ "The Escort Cast: Polly Draper as Rhona". The Geffen Playhouse. Archived from the original on 2014-03-08. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  27. ^ "Nickelodeon's New Teenick Series The Naked Brothers Band". Jazz News. 2007. Archived from the original on 2014-03-08. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  28. ^ "2008 Writers Guild Awards Television & Radio Nominees Announced". Writer's Guild of America. December 12, 2007. Archived from the original on December 19, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  29. ^ Finke, Nikki (2009-02-08). "2009 Writers Guild Award Winners". Deadline. Archived from the original on 2018-02-28. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  30. ^ "2018 San Antonio Film Festival Award Winners Revealed". ArtScene SA. August 5, 2018. Retrieved August 23, 2018.

External linksEdit