“Family Ties” is one of the most iconic sitcoms in television history, helping to define the family comedy genre during the big-noise decade of the 80s. The setting and premise of the show contributed to its success, of course, but it was the “Family Ties” cast members who set the show apart and made it unforgettable. Do you remember these actors and their landmark roles?
Michael Gross (Steven Keaton)
Gross got his start in the arts as a painter, but was always drawn to performing. He acted on Broadway for several years before getting cast in “Family Ties,” where he played a sometimes uptight, sometimes laidback father of three children and husband to Elyse (played by Meredith Baxter-Birney). Gross continued acting after “Family Ties” and has appeared in dozens of films, as well as TV shows including “Law & Order.”
Meredith Baxter-Birney (Elyse Keaton)
Baxter-Birney had been an actress for years before she was cast on “Family Ties,” with roles spanning from Shakespeare to soap operas. She had a successful run on the show, playing Elyse Keaton, who married into the family as mother of three children and wife to Steven (played by Michael Gross). After “Family Ties,” Baxter-Birney continued acting in TV shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and films including “The Last Song” and “The Family Stone.”
Michael J. Fox (Alex P. Keaton)
Fox had been acting since childhood, but he became a star in the 1980s when “Family Ties” aired. He went on to become one of Hollywood’s most bankable and respected actors, earning four Emmy Awards for his work as Alex P. Keaton during the series’ run. Fox also has Parkinson’s disease today and continues acting while being a vocal advocate for research to find a cure.
Justine Bateman (Mallory Keaton)
Justine Bateman played the character of Mallory, who was the middle child in the Keaton family (until Andy came along). She went on to play a variety of other roles in TV and film before becoming an accomplished director and producer.
Tina Yothers (Jennifer Keaton)
Yothers was a child star in the 1980s, acting on “Family Ties” before mostly falling out of the public eye for several years before parlaying her musical talents (as seen on “Family Ties”) into a few gigs acting and singing in plays and musicals in the 2000s.
Brian Bonsall (Andrew Keaton)
Bonsall played youngest son Andrew “Andy” Keaton on “Family Ties” before embarking on a career as a rock musician.
Marc Price (Irwin “Skippy” Handelman)
Price played the family’s bumbling but lovable neighbor, as Irwin “Skippy” Handelman, who had an enduring (if not endearing) crush on Mallory.
Scott Valentine (Nick Moore)
Valentine played Nick Moore, the hippie love interest of Mallory (played by Justine Bateman). Nick was an artist and biker who rubbed the Keatons the wrong way but eventually won them over — to some extent.
Tracy Pollan (Ellen Reed)
Pollan played Ellen Reed, Alex’s love interest for a couple of seasons. Evidently, the fictional pairing stuck, because Pollan and Fox have been married in real life for years.
Courteney Cox (Lauren Miller)
Before landing the role of Monica Geller on “Friends,” Cox played appeared on “Family Ties” as Lauren, another of Alex’s girlfriends.
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