Family & Companions
Forever etched in TV history as Steven Keaton, the public TV station manager and father to Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) on the long-running NBC sitcom "Family Ties" (1982-89), Michael Gross is a classically-trained actor whose tall, lanky frame and salt and pepper hair have lent themselves to numerous supporting and leading roles in TV-movies and feature films. A graduate of the prestigious Yale School of Drama, Gross began his career as a member of the repertory company of the Actors Theatre of Louisville (KY). In the late 1970s, he moved to New York where he found work with Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Theatre Festival before making his Broadway debut as a drag queen in the American premiere of "Bent" (1979) opposite Richard Gere.
Although he had played small roles in several TV-movies and made his feature film debut in Sidney Lumet's "Just Tell Me What You Want" (1980), Gross was barely known in Hollywood circles, let alone to audiences, when he was cast as Steven Keaton, the liberal husband and father on "Family Ties." Eight seasons as Keaton followed, a period in which Gross was able to spend his hiatus in other roles, such as Gloria Vanderbilt's legal guardian in the NBC miniseries "Little Gloria: Happy at Last" (1982) and King Arthur in "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" (NBC, 1989). Gross also appeared in number of "In the Line of Duty" TV-movies, including a heralded turn as a murderer in "In the Line of Duty: The F.B.I. Murders" (NBC, 1988). Subsequent appearances found him playing FBI agents. Additionally, the actor continued to appear onstage in productions in Los Angeles.
Gross played love interest to Lily Tomlin in the 1988 feature "Big Business" and went on to co-star with Reba McEntire as a survivalist couple battling giant maggots in "Tremors" (1990). He then took time off to indulge in his love for model trains and railroad memorabilia. After a two year absence, Gross was back in front of the camera with "Alan and Naomi" as well as a host of TV-movies.
He is the brother of Mary Gross, a comic actress who spent several seasons on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Member of company, Actors Theatre of Louisville (Kentucky)
TV-movie debut, "A Girl Named Sooner"
Off-Broadway debut, "Sgnarelle, An Evening of Moliere Farces" at the New York Shakespeare Festival
Broadway debut, "Bent"
Film debut, "Just Tell Me What You Want"
Miniseries debut, "Little Gloria: Happy at Last"
Starred in "The Real Thing", Mark Taper Forum, L.A.
Played opposite Lily Tomlin in the feature "Big Business"
Returned to film in "Alan & Naomi"
Appeared in TV-movies, "In the Line of Duty: The Price of Vengeance", "Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story", and "Avalanche"; also appeared in the feature, "In the Heat of Passion II"
Co-starred with Kelsey Grammer on Broadway in "Macbeth"
Played the father of Noah Wyle's Dr. John Carter in an episode of "ER" (NBC)