A product of a blue-collar Chicago neighborhood, actor Michael Gross spent the first two years of high school as (by his own admission) a "greaser" and gang member. He straightened himself out in his last two years, graduating as senior class president and National Honor Society member. Gross played guitar with a folksinging group before gravitating to the theatre. He attended the Yale School of drama (one of his classmates was Meryl Streep), then worked in regional theatre before landing in New York. In 1982, Gross was cast as Steven Keaton, ex-radical patriarch of a clan that included Michael J. Fox and Justine Bateman, in the long-running sitcom Family Ties. Perhaps chafing a bit at the press attention given to his co-star Fox, Gross took every available opportunity to play an image-busting role, notably the scuzzy, cold-blooded killer in the 1985 TV movie In the Line of Duty: The FBI Wars. Michael Gross is the brother of comedienne and former Saturday Night Live regular Mary Gross. In the years to come, Gross would prove to be a truly prolific actor, appearing in films like El Sonoma, Broken Windows, and Stay Cool, as well as TV shows like Tremors, How I Met Your Mother, The Young and the Restless, and ER.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Caught the acting bug after he saw a college stage production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- Did an extra year in undergrad school to avoid serving in the Vietnam War.
- Made his Broadway debut in Bent; his portrayal of Greta, a cross-dressing nightclub owner, earned him a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play.
- Won an Obie Award in 1982 for his performance in the off-Broadway play No End to Blame.
- Received a Best Actor Drama-Logue Award in 1986 for his theatrical work in The Real Thing.
- Met his wife on the Family Ties' set, where she worked as one of the casting directors.
- Took his wife to her father's grave site when he proposed to her.
- Shares the same birth date and year with his Family Ties costar, Meredith Baxter, who played his wife.