Thursday, June 21, 2018

Happy Birthday to 'Family Ties' Actress Meredith Baxter


Meredith Baxter was born today, June 21, in 1947. She is an American actress and producer. She is known for her roles on the ABC drama series Family (1976-80) and the NBC sitcom Family Ties (1982-89), credited as Meredith Baxter Birney. A five-time Emmy Award nominee, one of her nominations was for playing the title role in the 1992 TV film A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story.

Baxter was born in South Pasadena, California. She got her first big break on television in 1972 as one of the stars of Bridget Loves Bernie, a CBS television-network situation comedy. The series was canceled after one season, but her co-star, David Birney (right) became her second husband in 1974. Following their marriage and until their divorce in 1989, she was credited as Meredith Baxter Birney, under which name she became widely known several years later on Family. She played the role of Nancy Lawrence Maitland 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. In 1986, during her time on Family Ties, Baxter garnered critical acclaim for her dramatic performance as Kate Stark in the NBC television movie Kate's Secret, about a seemingly "perfect" suburban housewife and mother who is secretly suffering from bulimia nervosa. 

Following Family Ties, Baxter (whose marriage to Birney ended in 1989) produced and starred in telefilms. She portrayed a psychopathic kidnapper in The Kissing Place (1990). 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 2005, she began appearing in television commercials for Garden State Life Insurance Company. In 2006, she temporarily co-hosted — with Matt Lauer — Today, the NBC morning news and talk show. In 2007, she made a guest appearance on What About Brian, an ABC drama series. That same year, she also made several appearances as the dying mother of Detective Lilly Rush on Cold Case, a CBS police-procedural series. In recent years, Baxter created a skin-care line called Meredith Baxter Simple Works, which raises funds for Baxter's breast cancer research foundation.


Baxter was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 for which she was treated and from which she has fully recovered.
 

Baxter has been married four times and has five children.

On December 2, 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 2005, she began a relationship with Nancy Locke, a general contractor (at right with Baxter). They were married on December 8, 2013, in Los Angeles.

Baxter said she began her first same-sex relationship in 2002. She stated that finally coming to terms with her sexual orientation opened her eyes to the fact that for many years she knew something was different about her and why her relationships with men had failed.
 

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