Meredith Baxter was no stranger to show business. Her mother, Whitney Blake, was an American television/film actress who appeared in Hazel, Perry Mason, and multiple westerns over the years. Meredith’s Pasadena, California family life was highly dysfunctional. Her mother was distant and often was secluded behind a closed bedroom door which Meredith was forbidden to enter. After divorcing Meredith’s father, Blake married Jack, a militaristic man who meted out severe punishment to Meredith and her older two brothers. He also made unwelcome sexual advances toward Meredith. This dysfunctional environment caused her self-esteem to take a dive and she often made poor decisions over the years. Meredith starred with David Birney in Bridget Loves Bernie and she appeared in the horror film, Ben, and the political thriller, All the President’s Men. She played Nancy on the prime time television show, Family, starred on Family Ties and appeared on multiple made-for-television movies. She endured a long but destructive marriage to David Birney. Her self-esteem was further eroded as Birney constantly berated her and physically abused her at every opportunity. She became an alcoholic and endured a bout with breast cancer. By the age of sixty she discovered that she was a lesbian and came out publicly in the hopes of tearing down the societal stigma gay persons experience. Baxter is able to prosper and find happiness despite the hardship. Inspiring.
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