My HOLLYWOOD story
She went from 1970s child actress to reality TV queen. How family put Kyle on the path to fame
Long before she became a Real Housewife, Kyle Richards was paying her dues in Hollywood, working as a child actor in more than 30 films and TV shows, including Little House on the Prairie and Halloween. Growing up in front of the camera was “all I ever knew,” says Richards, 49. “I have no memory of my life before television.”
Now the mother-of-four—who has been married to real-estate agent Mauricio Umansky, 47, for 22 years—is behind the camera, co-executive producing a drama series, American Woman, inspired by her “unconventional” childhood with her mother, Kathleen Richards, who died of breast cancer in 2002 at the age of 63.
“My mother was a single mom in the ’70s, raising kids on her own,” says Richards. “It was a crazy, fun, reckless time, and she was very opinionated and outspoken. I wanted to make a show about women coming into their own and finding their voice.”
Kyle’s sister Kim Richards, 53, who was herself a child star, has been supportive, but oldest sister Kathy Hilton, 59, voiced concern about the project.
“I would never tell anyone else’s stories,” says Richards, who insists the show isn’t autobiographical. Still, it has strained her relationship with Kathy, whose daughters are Paris Hilton and Nicky Hilton Rothschild. Says Richards: “I hope when she sees the show, she’ll understand. I love my sisters, and I would never do anything to disrespect them or embarrass them. I feel bad about that.”
On the show, “I’m just myself, and I’m not embarrassed about it,” says Richards (with Camille Grammer and Lisa Vanderpump). “She had a scary voice and drank champagne out of a silver goblet,” says Richards of Bette Davis, her co-star in 1980s The...