Michael J. Fox (Alex P. Keaton)
THEN: Still a relative unknown when Family Ties began in the early ’80s, Fox was given the part of straight-laced young Republican Alex Keaton when Matthew Broderick wasn’t available. After the first few episodes, it was clear that Fox was the breakout star of the show.
NOW: Fox won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe for his role on Family Ties and quickly became one of the most famous stars of the decade. He was cast to replace Eric Stoltz as protagonist Marty McFly in Back to the Future, which was released while he was still filming Family Ties. The success of these two roles got him several more film jobs, like 1985’s Teen Wolf and 1999’s Stuart Little, along with leading television series, such as Spin City and his recent The Michael J. Fox Show. Fox went public with his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease in 1998, and has focused his off-screen efforts on education and research on the disease, including founding the Michael J. Fox Foundation to promote these efforts, in the years since.
Meredith Baxter (Elyse Keaton)
THEN: Meredith Baxter was best known for her twice-Emmy-nominated role of Nancy Lawrence Maitland on the ’70s network drama Family when she took on the role of free-spirited mother Elyse Keaton on Family Ties.
NOW: After Family Ties ended, Baxter went on to star in a string of made-for-TV movies, and reprised her role as the mother to a Michael J. Fox character when she guest starred on Spin City in 1997. In recent years, she released a memoir and made appearances on Glee and The Young and the Restless.
Michael Gross (Steven Keaton)
THEN: Gross had done a few TV movies before Family Ties, but it was his role as liberal TV station manager and father Steven Keaton that put him in the spotlight.
NOW: After Family Ties, Gross become known for his role as eccentric and paranoid survivalist Burt Gummer in the Tremors franchise of movies and spin-off TV series. He also appeared on Michael J. Fox’s other hit show, Spin City, and has recently appeared in multiple episodes of How I Met Your Mother and Suits.
Justine Bateman (Mallory Keaton)
THEN: Bateman’s first acting role is also her most well-known, as the superficial daughter Mallory Keaton on Family Ties. Her character highlighted the importance that ’80s teens put on their looks, and she was nominated for a Golden Globe and two Emmys for the role.
NOW: The former child star went on to do a string of television movies after Family Ties wrapped. She’s made guest-starring turns on Desperate Housewives, Californication, and Psych, and hit the big screen in 1990’s The Closer and 1992’s Deadbolt. She also appeared on her brother Jason Bateman’s show Arrested Development. Now, Bateman is enrolled in UCLA working towards a major in Digital Media Management and Computer Science, and often speaks publicly in support of net neutrality.
Tina Yothers (Jennifer Keaton)
THEN: Yothers started acting at just 3 years old in commercials. She had a couple of small TV gigs in cameo roles and a made-for-TV movie before landing the part of tomboy Jennifer Keaton on Family Ties at age 9.
NOW: Yothers took a break from acting after Family Ties to focus on music, putting together a band with her brother Cory called Jaded in the late 1990s. Most recently, Yothers has appeared on reality shows like the 2006 season of Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Wife Swap in 2012, and What Not To Wear in 2013.
Brian Bonsall (Andy Keaton)
THEN: Born the year before Family Ties began airing, Bonsall was added to the cast in season 5 as the Keaton’s new son, Andy. The role made him a go-to child star of the ’80s and ’90s, and he won three Young Artist Awards for it.
NOW: Bonsall went on to star in the 1991 horror film Mikey as the title character, and is known in science fiction circles for his role as Alexander Rozhenko on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He appeared in a few more movies in the ’90s, including the 1994 comedy Blank Check, but retired from acting in 1995. He relocated to Colorado, attended high school, and has played in a few different punk bands including Stuntdoubles and Thruster. Bonsall was arrested on assault charges in Colorado in 2009, and was put on probation in 2010.
Marc Price (Irwin "Skippy" Handelman)
THEN: Price added both humor and heart to Family Ties as the Keatons’ nerdy neighbor Irwin “Skippy” Handelman. Skippy was a friend to Alex, an unlikely soulmate to Mallory, and an audience favorite.
NOW: Except for a few film roles, Price has moved behind the spotlight as a writer/producer for several TV projects. He also developed a passion for stand-up comedy, and appeared on Last Comic Standing in 2006.
Scott Valentine (Nick Moore)
THEN: Valentine landed the role of Mallory’s love interest, the environmentalist artist Nick Moore, in the fourth season of Family Ties. This prompted a spin-off series, The Art of Being Nick, which was not picked up despite good ratings on the pilot.
NOW: Following Family Ties, Valentine had several guest spots in TV series and roles in made-for-TV movies, including 1992’s Lady Boss, two 1990s episodes of Murder, She Wrote, and a 2004 cameo on CSI: NY. The star also nabbed film gigs with 1992’s Double Obsession, 1993’s To Sleep with a Vampire, and 1998’s Paranoia. He now serves as the Executive Director at investment firm Excelsior Capital Partner.
Courteney Cox (Lauren Miller)
THEN: One of Cox’s very first roles was that of Lauren Miller, Alex’s girlfriend for the last two seasons of Family Ties. She nabbed the part just a few years after she famously danced in Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 music video for “Dancing in the Dark,” which has been credited as starting Cox’s high-profile acting career.
NOW: Of course, most know Cox as Monica Geller from Friends. The famed role brought Cox to celebrity status. She went on to star in the Scream movie franchise, had a recurring role on Scrubs in 2009, and booked the lead role of Jules Cobb on Cougar Town.
Tracy Pollan (Ellen Reed)
THEN: Before Courteney Cox was brought on, Pollan played Family Ties‘ Ellen Reed, one of Alex’s early love interests. Around the same time she was on the sit-com, Pollan also made headlines for her personal life as she was dating Kevin Bacon.
NOW: Pollan’s relationship with Bacon didn’t last long, and she soon began dating her Family Ties and Bright Lights, Big City costar Michael J. Fox. They married in 1988 and are still together 28 years later with four children. Although she’s mostly remained out of the limelight, Pollan has made a few appearances on Spin City and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and dropped in on a 2013 episode of The Michael J. Fox Show.
Geena Davis (Karen Nicholson)
THEN: Davis was working as a model and had a gig in the movie Tootsie before appearing on Family Ties as the goofy housekeeper Karen.
NOW: Davis went on to star in several major films, including Thelma & Louise and A League of Their Own. She also reteamed with Michael J. Fox in 1999’s Stuart Little. Davis went on to play the first female President of the United States in the ABC drama Commander in Chief, earning a Golden Globe for the role. In recent years, she had a 2014-2015 arc on Grey’s Anatomy, and made big-screen appearances in 2009’s Accidents Happen, 2013’s In a World…, and the 2015 indie Me Him Her.
Tom Hanks (Ned Donnelly)
THEN: Hanks picked up an early TV credit as Elyse Keaton’s younger brother Ned Donnelly in the first two seasons of Family Ties.
NOW: It didn’t take long for Hanks to become a bona fide movie star. In the late ‘80s and ‘90s, he made some of his biggest films, including Philadelphia, Sleepless in Seattle, Saving Private Ryan, and Forrest Gump. Hanks continues to add to his filmography and recently made time to appear in Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2015 music video for “I Really Like You.”