Polly Draper

Polly Draper
Born Polly Carey Draper
(1955-06-15) June 15, 1955
Gary, Indiana, U.S.
Alma mater Yale University
Yale School of Drama
Occupation Actress, director, writer, producer
Years active 1985–present
Notable work Thirtysomething (1987–91)
The Tic Code (1998)
The Naked Brothers Band (2007–09)
Spouse(s) Kevin Wade (1983–90)
Michael Wolff (1992–present)[1]
Children Nat Wolff
Alex Wolff
Parent(s) William Henry Draper III
Phyllis C. Draper
Relatives Jesse Draper (niece)
Tim Draper (brother)
William Henry Draper Jr. (grandfather)

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 role in the ABC primetime television drama Thirtysomething (1987–91).[3]

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 also 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)—portraying her sons Nat and Alex Wolff—which won her a WGA for Children's Script: Long Form or Special.[6]

Personal life

Draper was born in Gary, Indiana, to Phyllis (née Culbertson),[7] a Peace Corps administrator, and William Henry Draper III, a venture capitalist and civic leader of the United Nations Development Programme.[8][9] She is the sister of venture capitalist Tim Draper[10] and granddaughter to banker and diplomat William Henry Draper, Jr.[11][12]

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

Following a seven-year marriage with playwright Kevin Wade,[5] Draper married musician Michael Wolff after meeting him in 1989 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 Wolff and Alex Wolff, who starred in and composed the music for The Naked Brothers Band series and film. Draper's niece is actress Jesse Draper, who also co-starred in The Naked Brothers Band alongside the siblings' father.[15]

Draper is a member of the Democratic Party, and voted for Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 election.[16] She voted for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election.[17] Her late grandfather, William Henry Draper, Jr., was a member of the Republican Party.[18]


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,[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 special Too Young to Marry (2007).[3][8]

Draper's played "Laura" in her own screenwriting debut The Tic Code. In 2003, she starred in, provided lead vocals and lyrics for her playwriting Getting Into Heaven (2003) at The Flea Theater; the music was composed and performed by her husband.[19] Draper also played Nina in the Broadway production of Brooklyn Boy in 2005.[20] By 2007, Draper served as creator, writer, executive producer, and director of the Nickelodeon musical comedy series The Naked Brothers Band. The series was adapted by the pilot episode The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie which she 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. 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.[3]


Draper's work on Thirtysomething earned her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.[8] In addition, her starring role in the Off-Broadway production of Four Dogs and a Bone (1993) won her a New York Magazine award for Best Broadway Actress.[20] Draper's portrayal in her screenwriting The Tic Code (1998) won her the Bronze Gryphon award for Best Actress at the Giffoni Film Festival.[8]

Draper wrote her directing debut The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie, which earned her an Audience Award for a Family Feature Film at the Hamptons International Film Festival in 2005.[21] The film became the pilot to the Nickelodeon musical comedy series The Naked Brothers Band (2007–09) which she created, wrote, executive produced, and directed, earning her two Writers Guild Award nominations. The first one, in 2007, Draper was nominated in the section of Children's Episodic Shows & Specials for the episode "Nat is a Stand Up Guy".[22] She also won the Children's Script: Long Form or Special category for the TV movie "Polar Bears" in 2009.[6]


  1. Warrick, Pamela (June 11, 2007). "Look Who's ... Fiftysomething". People. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  2. "Polly Carey Draper Is Bride". The New York Times. August 21, 1983. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Polly Draper at the Internet Movie Database
  4. Walsh-Boyle, Megan (February 2, 2007). "Polly Draper: The Naked Brothers' Mother Returns to TV!". TV Guide. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 Schindehette, Susan; Alexander, Michael (May 8, 1989). "Single Again, Thirtysomething's Polly Draper Brushes Up on Becoming a Sexy Working Girl". People. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  6. 1 2 "Winners Announced for 2009 Writers Guild Awards". Writers Guild of America. February 7, 2009. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  7. Profile, bizjournals.com; accessed March 15, 2015.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 "Polly Draper profile at". FilmReference.com. 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. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  11. Lim, Jason (June 3, 2011). "Baidu Early Investor, Tim Draper is the Risk Master". TechNode. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  12. PV, Sahad (October 16, 2008). "Next Tech Giant Will Be A Cellphone Application Company: Tim Draper". VCCircle. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  13. 1 2 Meyer, Carla (June 24, 2011). "Free Expression/Polly Draper drew on her husband's Tourette's syndrome for "The Tic Code"". San Francisco Chronicle. 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. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  15. 1 2 3 Lee, Felicia R. (January 25, 2007). "A TV Family Bound by Blood and a Band". The New York Times. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  16. "Polly Draper - Political Campaign Contributions - 2008 Election Cycle". CampaignMoney.com. September 6, 2007 – September 22, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  17. "Polly Draper - Political Campaign Contributions - 2004 Election Cycle". CampaignMoney.com. July 27, 2004. 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. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  19. Finkle, David (July 3, 2003). "Getting Into Heaven: Review". TheaterMania. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  20. 1 2 Gans, Andrew; Kenneth Jones (December 6, 2004). "Polly Draper Replaces Dana Reeve in Broadway's Brooklyn Boy". Playbill.com. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  21. "Nickelodeon's New Teenick Series The Naked Brothers Band". Jazz News. 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  22. "2008 Writers Guild Awards Television & Radio Nominees Announced". Writer's Guild of America. December 12, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
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