Character Actor: Michael Gross

Love Gross's raised eyebrow!
Michael Gross is best known as the father on Family Ties. He guest stars regularly on various shows (have I mentioned how much I love working actors!?), such as Law & Order (sometimes without his beard which is terribly disconcerting).

In a vote for TV Father, Michael Gross would come near the top of my list. One major reason is that as Steven Keaton, he comes across as a person in his own right rather than as a role. He is an individual, then he is a husband & father.

This construction of Keaton-as-person rather than as role is likely because Family Ties was originally intended to be about the parents--until Michael J. Fox showed up on-screen, of course. However, the original configuration means that the show is remarkably well-balanced in terms of acting and comedic ability. Michael Gross is no slouch when it comes to wry commentary.

Michael David Wright as college-age
Steven Keaton is pitch perfect.
In addition, his husband/father persona is devoted, sincere, kindly, sardonic, occasionally obsessed with a project or a game (such as Scrabble), a tad jealous of his wife's outside interests, admittedly given to ponderous discourse, diffident, and ultimately a man who always wanted to be a husband and father more than a great protestor (as the flashback episodes make clear).

Likewise, his oldest son is ultimately more interested in people than devoted to a conviction (money): Alex P. Keaton would likely end up in a job that combines both people and money (which is why Spin City makes so much sense).

I must mention, Michael Gross has an exceptionally fine singing voice. Check out episodes "Architect's Apprentice" and Lady Sings the Blues" to hear that honey baritone.

No comments: