The 1980s was a strange time with numerous social and economic initiatives in the US. The show that best tackled about those changes from liberalism in the '60s and '70s to conservatism of the '80s was the sitcom, Family Ties, running solid 7 years throughout the '80s. Now 30 years after the show wrapped up, the lives of the cast have changed dramatically.
Meredith Baxter was best known as Elyse Keaton, the former flower child matriarch of the Keaton family on Family Ties. The actress found out that she was pregnant while shooting the sitcom. Instead of trying to hide her pregnancy actor using camera tricks, Baxter was simply written out of a few episodes in season 3.
Meredith Baxter had three failed marriages, and many people thought it was because she wasn't good at relationships, but they were wrong. In 2009, she came out as a lesbian, which shocked the public at the time, but explained a lot. In 2013, Meredith married contractor Nancy Locke after a seven-year courtship. Meredith also managed to win her battle against breast cancer.
Having landed a few roles before Family Ties, Michael Gross achieved his breakthrough as Steven Keaton, a role that would earn him a lifetime of recognition. Not only did Gross rise to fame for the role itself, but he also gained some attention for his mean beard.
Post Family Ties, Michael Gross went on to star in the Tremors movies and appeared on hit TV shows like Law & Order, The Young and the Restless, and How I Met Your Mother. Gross is quite a versatile actor and has starred in dramas, comedies, and even on stage. Having been active for over 40 years in the industry, he is showing no sign of slowing down.
Michael J. Fox starred in the show as one of the central characters, Alex P. Keaton, thanks to Matthew Broderick turning down the role. Fox won three straight Emmys from 1986 to 1988 for his star turn as Alex. He also met his wife Tracy Pollan on the show. The two tied the knot in 1988, and they have four children together.
After the show, Fox went on to have a stellar career in Hollywood and is now a megastar with a ton of awards. In 1991, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 29, and he has since then done his best to shed light on this disease. To honor his work, Fox's home country awarded him the Order of Canada, one of Canada's highest honors.
Justine (older sister of Jason Bateman) played Mallory, a materialistic yet lovable young woman who was often used as fodder for pranks and jokes, due to her difference to others. More than anything this character highlighted the importance that '80s teens put on their looks. It was her first role, as well as her most well-known, and the role earned her a Golden Globe, plus two Emmy nominations.
After Family Ties, Justine made a ton of television appearances. With brains and ambition, Justine has done a lot with her life, including launching a digital production company, founding a clothing design company, and completing a degree in computer science at UCLA at the age of 50. Besides all this, she is a certified scuba diver and a licensed pilot.
Tina Yothers started her career in commercials as a child actress at just 3 years old. She had a few small TV gigs in cameo roles and appeared in a made-for-TV film prior to landing the role of tomboy Jennifer Keaton on Family Ties aged just 9. The young Jennifer with her golden locks was fondly remembered and pushed Yothers into show business.
After the show, Tina Yothers moved away from acting and drifted into the music industry, putting together a band called Jaded in the late '90s. Over the years she has changed a lot, the once young star is now all grown up and even sports black hair now. Yothers has generally stayed away from the spotlight, except for a few on-air interviews and a stint on Celebrity Wife Swap back in 2012.
Born the year before Family Ties began airing, Brian Bonsall entered the show in season 5 as Andy, the youngest son of the Keaton clan. The role turned him into the go-to child star of the '80s and '90s. He even earned three Young Artist Awards and an invite to land a role as Alexander Rozhenko, son of Worf, in Star Trek for 7 episodes.
While this talented child star could have potentially had a long acting career ahead of him, Brian Bonsall decided to retire from the acting world so he could pursue a career as a musician. In 2001, he was arrested for a DUI and again in 2007 for assaulting his then-girlfriend. Time and again, Bonsall has been in and out of jail for cases related to substance abuse. It’s a Shame.
Marc Price was cast as Irwin Skippy Handleman, a nerdy kid-from-next-door who obsessed over Mallory. As the "dork" of the show, Skippy was that typical character who would moon over his ladylove and be the center of all jokes and pranks, adding both humor and heart to Family Ties.
Post Family Ties, Price's career in acting didn’t really go anywhere. After landing only a few movie roles, Price has since moved behind the camera and works now sporadically as a writer and producer for TV stations such as The Disney Channel, Food Network, Animal Planet, Showtime, etc. He has also developed a passion for stand-up comedy and appeared on Last Comic Standing.
Scott Valentine appeared in 43 episodes of the show as Nick Moore, the environmentalist artist boyfriend of Mallory. Nick became an instant hit, and his popularity even prompted a spin-off series called The Art of Being Nick, which was not picked up despite good ratings on the pilot.
Following Family Ties, Valentine consistently claimed roles in the '90s, appearing on a couple of hit shows, including NewsRadio, JAG, and CSI: New York. The star also had a few film gigs with Double Obsession, To Sleep with a Vampire, and Paranoia. Valentine now serves as the Executive Director at investment firm Excelsior Capital Partner.
Courtney Cox was only 23 when she first appeared on Family Ties playing a recurring role as Alex's girlfriend, Lauren Miller. She claimed the part just a few years after famously danced in the 1984 music video for "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen. This role was one of Cox's very first in her high-profile acting career.
Cox's career in film and TV skyrocketed from there, with roles in Masters of the Universe, Mr. Fantasy, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and more. Cox reached the apex of her career with mega-hit series, Friends, playing the role of Monica Geller, which brought her true A-List celebrity status. She went on to star in the FX series, Dirt, and had a recent success with Cougar Town.
Before Courteney Cox was brought on, Tracy Pollan played Ellen Reed (Alex's feminist girlfriend). At the time, Pollan also made headlines by dating actor Kevin Bacon, but unfortunately, their relationship didn't last long. Maybe because the chemistry with her on screen boyfriend was so natural that it flowed off the screen and into their real lives.
Pollan and Fox have now been married for over 30 years and have four children together. Since their marriage, Pollan's acting credits diminished, and she's mostly remained out of the limelight. However, Pollan did appear on Spin City and Curb Your Enthusiasm. She even received an Emmy award for her performance on Law & Order: SVU. Ellen Reed seems though to have been her most notable role.
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