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In November, 2009, I sailed with about two dozen journalists of the gay press and 1,200 lesbians through hurricane Ida. It was on this memorable Sweet cruise that we learned that Meredith Baxter, the beloved TV mom of Family Ties, was on board with us - and her partner! On the last night of Sweet's inaugural voyage, Comedienne Suzanne Westenhoefer closed her act quoting Harvey Milk, “Come out. If you’re not out, come out!” This moment would change Meredith Baxter’s life.
“Okay … that got me. I had been struggling with the idea for some time. I was on a lesbian cruise, but who was I really out to? I had been letting my friends and family know since 2003. But I wasn’t out to the world; I always told myself I had too much at stake. At that moment, I looked at Nancy, my darling Nancy, who had been out for thirty years, and I just knew it was time,” she reminisces in her first memoir, Untied.
Untied chronicles the life of an extraordinary woman who has lived through many ups and downs, including bad marriages and abuse. After all, this talented personality has reinvented herself in the most remarkable way: She is out and proud, clean and sober, and her career is thriving. Currently on lecture tour, Baxter has speaking engagements on breast cancer, domestic violence, alcoholism, and general life experiences.
Television audiences, however, know her well for her role as Elyse Keaton, the hippy mom that helped carry NBC’s Family Ties sitcom through multiple seasons during the 1980s. She later took on darker, more serious characters in several films, such as a psychotic kidnapper in The Kissing Place (1990) and a murderer in A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story (1992).
After a temporary stint co-hosting The Today Show with Matt Lauer, she appeared in the ABC drama, What About Brian, and the TV series, Cold Case. Most recently she starred in Bound by a Secret for the Hallmark Channel.
In addition to her work as an actress and activist, Baxter has become a successful entrepreneur since launching a line of skin products called Meredith Baxter Simple Works, which raises funds for breast cancer research.
GRAND MARSHALL OF SAN DIEGO LGBT PRIDE 2011
San Diego welcomes Meredith Baxter as the 2011 Grand Marshall of its annual parade on July 16. The San Diego LGBT Pride parade is scheduled for 11 am, July 16, through the heart of Hillcrest.
“Meredith is a role model who has captured audiences with her versatile talent, courage and style. She continues to inspire so many to live openly and honestly while calling attention to causes important to her and the LGBT community,” says Frank G. Scarpaci, interim executive director for San Diego Pride.
This year’s San Diego Pride weekend will feature a political rally on July 15 in Balboa Park; a mile-long parade down University Avenue on July 16; and a two-day festival with live entertainment on July 16 and 17 in the park.
For more information or to sign up for volunteer positions, call 619.297.7683 or visit the web site: www.SanDiegoPride.org.