Meredith Baxter (Actress) - Family Ties
Meredith Baxter 1
Updated: 3/08/23

Name: Meredith Baxter

Birth Name: Meredith Ann Baxter

Born: June 21, 1947 in South Pasadena, California, USA

Claim To Fame: Meredith Baxter is an American actress and producer best known for her role as Elyse Keaton on the NBC sitcom Family Ties (1982-89).

Family Life: Baxter has been married four times and has five children. Robert Lewis Bush (1966-1971, divorce); Children: Theodore Justin "Ted" Bush and Eva Whitney Bush, David Birney (1974-1989, divorce); Children: Kathleen Jeanne "Kate" Birney, and twins, Mollie Elizabeth Birney and Peter David Edwin Birney; Michael Blodgett (1995-2000, divorce), and Nancy Locke (2013-present). And has grandchildren: Sophia and Bella (Eva's daughters) and Eli (Ted's son).

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Info: She's the daughter of actress, director and producer Whitney Blake; and Tom Baxter, a radio announcer.

After her parents were divorced in 1953, Baxter and her two brothers, Richard (born 1944) and Brian (born 1946), were raised by their mother.

Her second stepfather was situation comedy writer Allan Manings.

Was educated at James Monroe High School before transferring to Hollywood High School.

During her senior year, she attended Interlochen Center for the Arts as a voice major, but returned to Hollywood High, where she graduated in 1965.

She and her Family Ties co-star, Michael Gross, were both born on June 21, 1947.

She got sober in 1989, around the time of her divorce from David Birney.

In 1999, Baxter was diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment, she made a full recovery and founded the Meredith Baxter Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.

Baxter created a skin care line called Meredith Baxter Simple Works, which raises funds for Baxter's breast cancer research foundation.

Was the guest speaker at the 2008 Southern Commencement for National University in La Jolla, California, and was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the university.

In 2009, she came out as a lesbian during an interview with Matt Lauer on Today, and on the Frank DeCaro Show on Sirius-XM OutQ 102.

In March of 2011, Baxter's memoir, titled Untied, was published. In the book, she details her early life, her unhappy and in some cases abusive marriages, especially from ex-husband David Birney, which he's denied and continues to deny the accusations, her struggles with and recovery from alcoholism, and her realization that she is a lesbian. The book became a New York Times bestseller.

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Trivia: Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1976" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 28.

Baxter got her first appearance in television in 1970 on an episode of The Partridge Family in its second season.

In 1972, she starred in short-lived CBS sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie, which co-stars David Birney, who became her second husband in 1974. Until they were divorced in 1989, she was credited as "Meredith Baxter Birney", under which name she became widely known in 1976 on Family.

In 1976, She played the role of Nancy Lawrence Maitland on Family, and received two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1977 and 1978).

In 1982, Baxter landed the role of Elyse Keaton, the former flower child matriarch of the Keaton family on the NBC sitcom Family Ties.

She was seven months pregnant with her twins, Peter and Mollie, when she went on maternity leave from filming Family Ties, returned to work one month after giving birth.

Following Family Ties, Baxter 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 (1992), based on the true story of Betty Broderick, a divorcée who was convicted of murder in the shooting of her ex-husband and his young wife.

For her work on the television film My Breast (1994), she received a special award for public awareness from the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

In 1997, Baxter once again played the mother of a character played by Michael J. Fox (who portrayed her son, Alex P. Keaton, on Family Ties), this time in two episodes of Spin City.

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Where Are They Now: Baxter is still a strong presence on television. Hopefully, we will see more of her in the years to come. Currently, she has finished work on the comedy film Genesis: The Future of Mankind Is Woman. A release date has yet to be announced.


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