Family Ties was one of my favorite shows to watch growing up, and it’s arguably one of the funniest 80’s sitcoms. When CBS passed on the show it was picked up by NBC and ran for 7 seasons, from 1982 to 1989. The Emmy Award-winning show centered on the lives of Steven and Elyse Keaton, ex-hippies, raising their family in suburban Ohio during the Reagan administration.
Michael Gross played the role of Steven Keaton which automatically put him on the map. After the show, he continued to work with castmates. He appeared in Spin City, with Meredith Baxter as Michael J Fox‘s father. In the 2000s, he played the father of lead character, Ted Mosby, for several episodes of “How I Met Your Mother”.
Meredith Baxter was the first to be cast for the show and portrayed family matriarch, Elyse Keaton. On the show, Tom Hanks played her younger brother in a few episodes and after that… well, we all know how much of a mega start he is now. After the show, she appeared on Spin City in 1997 aside Michael J. Fox as his mother. More recently, she was on Glee, The Young and the Restless, and has released a memoir. She is married to longtime partner, Nancy Locke.
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox, the obvious breakout star from the show, as was Alex P. Keaton, a fiery conservative and young republican. Still a fairly unknown actor, Fox was almost passed up for the role because they weren’t sure if he was good looking enough to ‘have his face on a lunchbox’. Although he was given the role after Matthew Broderick was unavailable, he ultimately became the reason Family Ties won 3 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Safe to say the show launched his career. Following were hits such as Back to the Future, Teen Wolf, Stuart Little and his own show, The Michael J. Fox Show He married co-star and love interest in Family Ties earlier seasons, actress, Tracy Pollan.
Justine Batemen was 4 months into her acting career when she landed the role as the lovable, pop culture obsessed Mallory Keaton. For the role, she was nominated for two Emmy’s and a Golden Globe. Throughout her career, she guest-starred on Californication, Psych, The Closer and even on her brother, Jason Bateman’s show, Arrested Development. She enrolled at UCLA in the late 2000s and earned a degree in Digital Media Management and Computer science.
The love interest of Mallory, was Nick Moore, an environmental artist. The role was played by actor Scott Valentine. He attempted 3 different spins off series from this show, all of which fails. He did end up with multiple tv series guest spots on Murder, She Wrote, CSI: NY, and movies including Double Obsession, Paranoia and To Sleep with a Vampire.
Tina Yothers was the second to the youngest child in the Keaton family, the tomboy-ish Jennifer Keaton. She was 9 years old when she landed the role. Her career, however, began in commercials when she was 3. She made a band with her brother, “Jaded” in the late 1990s. In the 2000’s she made her way back to TV with appearances on Celebrity Wife Swap, What Not To Wear, and Desperate Housewives.
Andy Keaton, played by Brian Bonsall, was born the year before the show began and joined the show in season 5 as the baby of 4 kids. He won three Young Artists Awards for it and became a “go-to” child star. He later starred in a horror film, Mikey in 1991 as well as Blank Check, and Star Trek: The Next Generation, as Alexander Rozhenko. By 1995 he’d retired from acting and moved to Colorado. There, he attended high school and started playing in punk bands. Two of which were Stuntdoubles and Thruster.
Courtney Cox made one of her first roles in television as Lauren Miller, Alex’s girlfriend for the last two seasons of Family Ties. She earned the role and recognition as an actress after starring in Bruce Springsteen’s music video “Dancing in the Dark” in 1984. She went on to star as Monica Geller in Friends.
Tracy Pollan, real-life wife of Michael J. Fox, played an early girlfriend of Alex P. Keaton on the show. She made appearances on Spin City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as an episode of The Michael J. Fox Show in 2013. The happy adorable couple is still married today.
Here’s the Family Ties cast reuniting to discuss the show a few years back. Safe to say they all look the same!