She was born in South Pasadena, California, the daughter of actress turned director/producer Whitney Blake and Tom Baxter, a radio announcer. She was raised in Pasadena, with her two brothers, Richard (born 1944) and Brian (born 1946). Her second stepfather was situation-comedy writer Allan Manings. (Picture: Meredith Baxter (seated) with her twins Mollie and Peter and partner Nancy Locke, Marc Royce)
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 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. Her next series was Family Ties, on which she played an ex-flower child mother, Elyse Keaton. In reality, she is only fourteen years older than Michael J. Fox, who played her son Alex Keaton. Coincidentally, her co-star Michael Gross (who played her husband Steven Keaton) shares the same birthday, June 21, 1947.
In 1986, during her time on Family Ties, Baxter garnered critical acclaim for her dramatic performance as Kate Stark in the well-known 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 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, this time in 2 episodes of Spin City. As well in 1999, Ms, Baxter played in the lifetime movie, "Miracle in the Woods". Here she co starred alongside actress Patricia Heaton, where they are two estranged sisters, and actress Della Reese.
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. 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 co-stars 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.
Baxter has been married three 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). She and David Birney divorced in 1989. In 1995, she married actor and screenwriter Michael Blodgett; they were divorced in 2000.
Baxter was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. 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.
Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering by Meredith Baxter
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Three Rivers Press (March 6, 2012)
Amazon: Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering
Amazon Kindle: Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering
“I remember Sarah asking me, when I’d just begun therapy with her, what I looked for in a man. After a few moments of silent, tense deliberation I had it. ‘Hair,’ I blurted. ‘He has to have hair.’”
Meredith Baxter is a beloved and iconic television actress, most well-known for her enormously popular role as hippie mom, Elyse Keaton, on Family Ties. Her warmth, humor, and brilliant smile made her one of the most popular women on television, with millions of viewers following her on the small screen each week. Yet her success masked a tumultuous personal story and a harrowing private life. For the first time, Baxter is ready to share her incredible highs, (working with Robert Redford, Doris Day, Lana Turner, and the cast of Family Ties), and lows (a thorny relationship with her mother, a difficult marriage to David Birney, a bout with breast cancer), finally revealing the woman behind the image.
From her childhood in Hollywood, growing up the daughter of actress and co-creator of One Day at a Time Whitney Blake, Baxter became familiar with the ups and downs of show business from an early age. After wholeheartedly embracing the 60s counterculture lifestyle, she was forced to rely on her acting skills after her first divorce left her a 22-year-old single mother of two. Baxter began her professional career with supporting roles in the critically panned horror film Ben, and in the political thriller All the President's Men.
More lucrative work soon followed on the small screen. Baxter starred with actor David Birney as the title characters in controversial sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie. While the series only lasted a year, her high-profile romance with Birney lasted 15 volatile and unhappy years. Hiding the worst of her situation from even those closest to her, Baxter’s career flourished as her self-esteem and family crumbled. Her successful run as Nancy on Family was followed by her enormously popular role on Family Ties, and dozens of well-received television movies.
After a bitter divorce and custody battle with Birney, Baxter increasingly relied on alcohol as a refuge, and here speaks candidly of her decision to take her last drink in 1990.
And while another ruinous divorce to screenwriter Michael Blodgett taxed Baxter’s strength and confidence, she has emerged from her experiences with the renewed self-assurance, poise, and understanding that have enabled her to find a loving, respectful relationship with Nancy Locke, and to speak about it openly.
Told with insight, wit, and disarming frankness, Untied is the eye-opening and inspiring life of an actress, a woman, and a mother who has come into her own.
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3679674.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.