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Elyse and Steven Keaton | by TV Time Warp
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Elyse and Steven Keaton

Meredith Baxter (born June 21, 1947 in South Pasadena, California) is an American actress. Her mother was the late actress and sitcom creator Whitney Blake, and her father is Tom Baxter, who worked in radio. Her stepfather is sitcom writer, Allan Manings.

 

She was married three times, most notably to actor David Birney, whom she met on the set of the sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie; she played his wife on the series. After the show was canceled, the couple became engaged and were married in 1974. From that date until their divorce in 1989, she was credited as Meredith Baxter Birney, a name still commonly associated with her by the general public as she went by it during her most prominent period.

 

She is best known for her work on two television shows. She first became popular in Hollywood playing the role of Nancy Lawrence Maitland on the television drama Family from 1976 to 1980. She received two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, in 1977 and 1978. The second role she is well-known for is ex-flower child Elyse Keaton on the sitcom Family Ties, which aired from 1982 to 1989. (Coincidentally, Meredith was born on the same date as her Family Ties husband, Michael Gross but in a different city.)

 

Since Family Ties was cancelled, Meredith has been directing and starring in TV movies. In 1992, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special for her work in A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story, in which she plays a divorcée who was convicted of murder in the shooting of her ex-husband and his young wife. She was nominated for a Daytime Emmy award in 1993 for her work as a lesbian raising a young son in a CBS after-school special. In 2000, she once again played the mother of a character played by Michael J. Fox, this time on the sitcom Spin City. In 2005, she began appearing in television commercials for Garden State Life Insurance Company.

  

Michael Gross (born June 21, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois) is a television and movie actor who plays both comedic and dramatic roles. His most notable roles are fatherly figure Steven Keaton from Family Ties and graboid hunter Burt Gummer from the Tremors film series.

 

Gross was born in Chicago, Illinois. He received his drama degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago before attending Yale University for his graduate degree. His sister, Mary, is a former Saturday Night Live cast member.

 

Gross is perhaps best known for his role as Steven Keaton in the 1980s sitcom Family Ties (coincidentally, he was born on the same date as Meredith Baxter, who played his wife on the show), and as "Burt Gummer" in the Tremors movies and subsequent TV series.

 

He also guest starred in an episode of the sitcom Night Court, in which he played a sexual predator to Markie Post's character, Christine Sullivan.

 

His other television credits include How I Met Your Mother, Batman Beyond, ER, Law & Order, and two of its spinoffs: Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent.

 

He has been married to casting director Elza Bergeron since June 2, 1984, and they have two children.

 

Gross is a passionate railfan with an extensive collection of railroad antiques. He is an amateur railroad historian, photographer, modeller, and part-owner in a working railroad, the Santa Fe Southern Railway, a former branch line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway which operates between Lamy and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is also the spokesperson for the World's Greatest Hobby campaign sponsored by the Model Railroad Industry Association that promotes the hobby of model railroading. He has also been a spokesperson for Operation Lifesaver, a campaign promoting safety at railroad grade crossings.

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Taken on December 12, 2006