Meredith Baxter

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Meredith Baxter
Meredith Baxter 2014 HRC Gala (cropped).jpg
Baxter at the Human Rights Campaign Gala, 2014
Born Meredith Ann Baxter
(1947-06-21) June 21, 1947 (age 66)
South Pasadena, California, U.S.
Other names Meredith Baxter-Birney
Education James Monroe High School
Hollywood High School
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Occupation Actress, producer
Years active 1971–present
Television Bridget Loves Bernie
Family
Family Ties
Dan Vs.
Family Guy
Spouse(s)

Robert Lewis Bush (m. 1966; div. 1969)
David Birney (m. 1974; div. 1989)
Michael Blodgett (m. 1995; div. 2000)

Nancy Locke (m. 2013)
Children 5
Parents Tom Baxter
Whitney Blake (deceased)
Relatives Allan Manings (stepfather, deceased)

Meredith Ann Baxter (born June 21, 1947), also known for some years as Meredith Baxter-Birney, is an American actress and producer. She is best known for her acting roles including three television series: Family (1976–1980), an ABC television-network drama, Family Ties (1982–1989), an NBC television-network situation comedy, and as a voice actress in Dan Vs. (2011–2013), an animated situation comedy on The Hub television-network.

Early life[edit]

Baxter was born in South Pasadena, California, the daughter of actress turned director/producer Whitney Blake and Tom Baxter, a radio announcer.[1] After her parents were divorced in 1953, Baxter and her two brothers, Richard (born 1944) and Brian (born 1946), were raised by their mother in Pasadena. Her second stepfather was situation-comedy writer Allan Manings.

Baxter was educated at James Monroe High School before transferring to Hollywood High School.[2] 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.[3]

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Baxter 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 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).

After Family ended, she starred with Annette O'Toole and Shelley Hack in Vanities (1981), a television production of the comedy-drama stage play about the lives, loves and friendship of three Texas cheerleaders starting from high school to post-college graduation; it aired as a part of Standing Room Only, a series on the premium-television channel HBO.

1980s and 1990s[edit]

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) and 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 a divorcée who was convicted of murder in the shooting of her ex-husband and his young wife. In 1994, she won[4] a Daytime Emmy Award for her role as a lesbian mother raising a young son, in Other Mothers (1993), a CBS Schoolbreak Special. 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.[5]

2000s-present[edit]

In 2005, she began appearing in television commercials for Garden State Life Insurance Company. In 2006, she temporarily co-hosted — with Matt LauerToday, 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 the guest speaker at the 2008 Southern Commencement for National University in La Jolla, California, and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the university.[6]

On December 17, 2009, Baxter's memoir, titled Untied, was published in 2011.[7]

She is also a spokesperson for Consumer Cellular, a cell phone company advertised as providing a cheaper cell phone alternative for senior citizens. She currently voices the character "Elise Sr." in Dan Vs., which airs on The Hub.

In April 2013, it was announced that Baxter will be in the Season 4 finale episode of Glee, along with Patty Duke, as a mentor to Darren Criss's character Blaine Anderson and Chris Colfer's character Kurt Hummel.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Marriages and children[edit]

Baxter in September 1990

Baxter has been married four times and has five children. In 1966, she married Robert Lewis Bush and they had two children — Theodore Justin ("Ted"; born 1967) and Eva Whitney (born August 6, 1969); the couple divorced in 1971. In 1974, she married David Birney and had three children — Kathleen Jeanne ("Kate"; born December 5, 1974) and twins Mollie Elizabeth and Peter David Edwin (born October 2, 1984).[9] She and David Birney divorced in 1989. In 1995, she married actor and screenwriter Michael Blodgett; they were divorced in 2000.

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.[10][11] She has been living with partner (now wife) Nancy Locke, a general contractor. The couple have been in a relationship since 2005 and were married on December 8, 2013 in Los Angeles.[12] Baxter said that she didn't realize she was gay until she began her first same-sex relationship in 2002. She states that finally coming to terms with her homosexuality really opened her eyes to the fact that for many years she knew something was different about her and why her relationships with men failed.[4]

Health issues[edit]

Baxter was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999.[13]

Filmography[edit]

Chad Everett and Baxter in 1975
Film
Year Title Role Notes
1972 Stand Up and Be Counted Tracy
1972 Ben Eve Garrison
1976 All the President's Men Debbie Sloan
1976 Bittersweet Love Patricia
1990 Jezebel's Kiss Virginia De Leo
1999 Elevator Seeking Ann
1999 Down Will Come Baby Leah Garr
2003 Devil's Pond Kate
2005 Paradise Texas Liz Cameron
2005 The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green Harper Green
2008 The Onion Movie Cooking Show Chef direct-to-video release
2010 Airline Disaster President Harriet Franklin
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1971 The Young Lawyers Gloria 1 episode
1971 The Doris Day Show April 1 episode
1971 The Partridge Family Jenny 1 episode
1972 Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law Ann Glover 1 episode
1972–1973 Bridget Loves Bernie Bridget Fitzgerald Steinberg 24 episodes
1973 The Invasion of Carol Enders Carol Enders television film
1973 Doc Elliot Jenny 1 episode
1973 The Cat Creature Rena Carter ABC television film
1974 Barnaby Jones Jenny Sutherland 1 episode
1974 The Stranger Who Looks Like Me Joanne Denver ABC television film
1974 Young Love April CBS television film
1974–1975 Medical Center Paula
Priscilla
2 episodes
1975 Target Risk Linda Flayly NBC television film
1975 The Imposter Julie Watson NBC television film
1975 The Streets of San Francisco Jodi Dixon 1 episode
1975 The Night That Panicked America Linda Davis ABC television film
1975 Medical Story Erica Schiff
Sunny
2 episodes
1975 McMillan & Wife Faye Leonard 1 episode
1976 City of Angels Mary Kingston 3 episodes
1976 Wide World Mystery 1 episode
1976 Police Woman Liz Robson 1 episode
1976–1980 Family Nancy Lawrence Maitland 45 episodes
1977–1982 The Love Boat Sandy Rytell 3 episodes
1978 Little Women Meg March NBC television film
1979 The Family Man Mercedes Cole CBS television film
1980 Beulah Land Lauretta Pennington NBC miniseries
1981 Vanities Joanne HBO televised presentation of stage production
1981 The Two Lives of Carol Letner Carol Letner CBS television film
1982 Take Your Best Shot Carol Marriner CBS television film
1982–1989 Family Ties Elyse Keaton 171 episodes
1985 The Rape of Richard Beck Barbara McKee ABC television film
1985 Family Ties Vacation Elyse Keaton NBC television film
1986 Kate's Secret Kate Stark NBC television film
1987 The Long Journey Home Maura Wells CBS television film
1988 The Diaries of Adam and Eve Eve television film
1988 Mickey's 60th Birthday Elyse Keaton television special
1988 Winnie Winnie NBC television film
1989 She Knows Too Much Samantha White NBC television film
1990 The Kissing Place Florence Tulane USA Network television film
1990 Burning Bridges Lynn Hollinger ABC television film
1992 A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story/Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick - The Final Chapter" Betty Broderick CBS television films
1992 Stolen Love DeeDee ABC Television film
1993 Darkness Before Dawn Mary Ann Guard NBC television film
also co-executive producer
1993 CBS Schoolbreak Special - Other Mothers Paula Hensen 1 episode; won a Daytime Emmy Award for her role
1994 For the Love of Aaron Margaret Gibson television film
1994 One More Mountain Margaret Reed ABC television film
1994 My Breast Joyce Wadler CBS television film
also co-executive producer
1995 Betrayed: A Story of Three Women Amanda Nelson ABC television film
also co-executive producer
1996 The Faculty Flynn Sullivan 1 episode
also executive producer
1996 After Jimmy Maggie Stapp television film
1997 Dog's Best Friend Cow (Voice) television film
1997 The Inheritance Beatrice Hamilton television film
1997 Let Me Call You Sweetheart D.A. Kerry McGrath The Family Channel television film
1997 Miracle in the Woods Sarah Weatherby television film
1997 Spin City Macy Flaherty 2 episodes: "Family Affair" (Part 1) and "Family Affair" (Part 2)
1999 Holy Joe Annie Cass CBS television film
1999 Down Will Come Baby Leah Garr CBS television film
1999 Miracle on the 17th Green Susan McKinley CBS television film
2000 The Wednesday Woman Muriel Davidson CBS television film
2001 A Mother's Fight for Justice Terry Stone Lifetime Television film
2001 Aftermath Carol television film
2001 Murder on the Orient Express Mrs. Caroline Hubbard television film
2002 A Christmas Visitor Carol Boyajian Hallmark Channel television film
2003 7th Heaven Mrs. Jones 1 episode: "Go Ask Alice"
2004 Half & Half Joan Tyrell 1 episode
2004 Angel in the Family Lorraine Hallmark Channel television film
2005 The Closer Congresswoman Simmons 1 episode: "Fantasy Date"
2006 Brothers & Sisters Margaret Packard 1 episode: "For the Children"
2006–2007 Cold Case Ellen Rush 5 episodes
2007 What About Brian Frankie 1 episode: "What About All That Glitters..."
2009 Bound by a Secret Ida Mae Hallmark Channel television film
2009 Family Guy Elyse Keaton and herself 2 episodes: "Stew-Roids" and "Family Gay"
2009 Brothers TV Mom 1 episode: "Episode: Commercial – Coach DMV"
2010 We Have to Stop Now Judy Web series
Episode: "The Grass Is Always Greener"
2010 RuPaul's Drag U Herself 1 episode: Appeared as a guest judge
2011 The Oprah Winfrey Show Herself 1 episode
2011 Dan Vs. Elise Sr. 4 episodes
2011 Family Guy Carol 1 episode
2012 Switched at Birth Bonnie Tamblyn Dixon 1 episode
2012 Naughty or Nice Carol Kringle Hallmark Channel television film
2013 Glee Liz 1 episode

Award nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Series or Film
1977 Emmy Award Nominated Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Family
1978 Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Family
1992 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story
1994 21st Daytime Emmy Awards Won Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special CBS Schoolbreak Special - Other Mothers
2007 TV Land Award Nominated Lady You Love to Watch Fight for Her Life in a Movie of the Week
-

References[edit]

  1. ^ Meredith Baxter profile at FilmReference.com. Accessed December 6, 2009
  2. ^ Baxter, Meredith (2011). Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering. Random House LLC. p. 34. 
  3. ^ Baxter 2011 pp.41,47
  4. ^ a b Rao, Vidya (December 2, 2009)"'Family Ties' Mom: I Am a Lesbian — Meredith Baxter Says She Has Been Dating Women for the Past Seven Years". Today (via MSNBC). Accessed December 2, 2009.
  5. ^ Spin City "Family Affair" details on IMDb.
  6. ^ Johnson, Tony (July 28, 2008). "National University Commencement 2008 — Could Be Good, Could Be Bad". The Herald; accessed December 2, 2009.
  7. ^ "people.com". people.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  8. ^ "Glee Casts Patty Duke and Meredith Baxter as Lesbian couple". 
  9. ^ Staff writer "Biography for Meredith Baxter". Turner Classic Movies. Accessed December 6, 2009.
  10. ^ "Windy City Media Group website". Windycitymediagroup.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  11. ^ "YouTube.com". YouTube.com. 2009-12-02. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  12. ^ Nahas, Aili (December 8, 2013). "Meredith Baxter Marries Nancy Locke". people.com. 
  13. ^ "Meredith Baxter". Sharing Miracles ("a blog of personal stories of miracles and hope"; January 30, 2009). Accessed December 6, 2009.

Sources[edit]

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