I remember watching Family Ties in the 80s. The show started early in the decade, and ended its run before 1990.

Having a dad that hated Reagan, I especially enjoyed the debates between the conservative son and his liberal father. And who didn’t love that big lug Nick?

When a former child star got arrested the other day, I forgot all about his character on Family Ties. Actor Brian Bonsall joined the show in the mid-80s, during its “jump the shark” phase, which states that you bring in a new baby or cute kid to spruce things up.

Bonsall is 28, and was arrested in Colorado for allegedly attacking a man with a broken stool. He was also wanted for probation violations stemming from a 2007 assault conviction.

I immediately thought – there goes any possibility of a reunion show. Although, with Meredith Baxter having three failed marriages and announcing she’s a lesbian…I’m guessing the network suits wouldn’t see her as the same mom they initially invisioned.

I thought about Family Ties and the king of the family shows with child arrests – Different Strokes. I wondered if this show had a curse. So I thought about each cast member.

Tina Yothers -- the cute younger sister. She went thru her teens not being so cute, and getting a few arrests and joining an alternative band with her brother. She went from doing such interesting TV movies as Laker Girls, The Tonya Harding Story and Lovelace the Musical (yep, about Linda Lovelack, the porn star)…to gaining 100 pounds and doing the reality show Celebrity Fit Club.

Her brother Michael J. Fox -- Parkinson’s.

Her older sister Justine Bateman…well, one word can describe her curse. Satisfaction. Anyone see that horrible movie (with a young Julia Roberts and Liam Neeson)?

Scott Valentine – her boyfriend Nick on the show. He got his Keaton curse the year before the show aired. He was hit by a truck and spent three years recovering.

Meredith Baxter – cursed with breast cancer.

Her TV husband Michael Gross (who, strangely enough, was born on the exact same day as her – June 21, 1947), came away relatively unscathed. He didn’t seem to have much of a career (the only thing I’ve seen him in is Tremors with Kevin Bacon). Oh. He and Meredith did bring the curse to a presidential race. They campaigned for John Kerry.

Marc Price, who played Skippy, went from a huge sitcom to doing stand-up (and he wasn’t half bad). The last thing I saw him on was a reality show – Last Comic Standing.

Courtney Cox made it onstage with Springsteen before landing on Family Ties. She’s now cursed with a bad show (Cougar Town), and David Arquette as a husband.

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thestoryteller Dec. 12, 2009 @ 2:29 p.m.

I was surprised to hear that Cougar Town got good reviews. I was looking forward to the show but thought it was stupid. Courtney constantly goes for the joke and tries too hard to be funny. To each his own...

Most of the stuff you mention, like turning gay and having Parkinson's and cancer can happen to anybody. I don't know if it's a curse. I'm recovering from my third cancer surgery and I've never been on a T.V. show. Life, for everybody, is suffering.


rickeysays Dec. 12, 2009 @ 5:18 p.m.

I think this needs to be filed under "trying to stretch a premise for a column that doesn't really work". How 'bout "what child star has been the biggest flameout?" I suppose River Phoenix and any others that are dead would win, but what about one's that are still alive? I'll start things off by nominating Gary Coleman-what a nutball.


Josh Board Dec. 14, 2009 @ 2:31 p.m.

A stretch for a premise??? How dare you, sir!

But we can switch the game. Child stars that are nuts now.

I'm going with Adam Rich, the cute boy from Eight is Enough.


KarenBP Dec. 15, 2009 @ 10:31 a.m.

i love this column... the celeb TV fodder from when i actually watched television. Michael Gross, who looked more Jewish than Spielberg, was last seen (by me) doing some "work" for one of those televangelist Christian TV half-hour infomercials. Like Sally Struthers did for the starving children. (i found that funny before the South Park kids did and made Sally's second career as a cartoon character take off.) Stomach turning, those are.

Michael J. Fox was here in SD a couple years back for the Reform Judaism convention and gave a really great speech on Parkinson's and the need for stem cell research. i covered the story for the SD Jewish Journal and found his story compelling. Brave guy.

When you wrote "broken stool" i just pictured half of a dookie.


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