Actor Michael Gross, perhaps best known for his portrayal of father Steven Keaton on NBC’s award-winning Family Ties, has most recently been seen as River Baldwin in CBS’s daytime drama, The Young and the Restless.During his thirty-five year professional career, Michael has portrayed a remarkable range of characters, including recurring roles on both the Drew Cary Show, as well as on NBC’s acclaimed series, ER. He has appeared on the original Law & Order as well as its popular spin-offs, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Other appearances include The Outer Limits, Ally Macbeal, CSI: New York, How I Met Your Mother, Boston Legal, and Medium. He guest-starred with Family Ties veteran Michael J. Fox in Michael’s farewell episode of Spin City.His long list of made-for-television movies include his frightening portrayal of killer William Mattix in The FBI Murders; Right To Die with Raquel Welch; F.D.R., The Last Year, with Eileen Heckart and Jason Robards; Manhunt in the Dakotas with Rod Steiger; Little Gloria… Happy at Last, with Angela Lansbury and Bette Davis; and, most recently, the HBO special, Mrs. Harris, with Annette Benning and Ben Kingsley.No stranger to the big screen, Michael revels in his cult status among sci-fi and horror movie buffs for his hilarious portrayal of paranoid survivalist Burt Gummer in the feature film Tremors, its many sequels, and its Sci-Fi Channel series. He is a recipient of the Video Premiere Award as Best Actor for his work in Tremors III. He has appeared in director Sidney Lumet’s Just Tell Me What You Want, played opposite Lily Tomlin in Big Business, and worked with actor Lucas Haas in the award-winning Alan And Naomi. His numerous direct-to-video releases, include his role as Hillary Swank’s father in Sometimes They Come Back Again, Ground Control with Kiefer Sutherland, True Heart with actress Kirsten Dunst,and independent features, An American in China and Broken Windows. He begins work soon on Stay Cool, a feature film starring Wynona Ryder.Michael began his professional career in 1973 with three seasons at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. Other regional theatre work included seasons at The Guthrie Theater, the Yale Repertory Theatre, Baltimore's Center Stage, the Indiana Repertory Theatre, and the Mark Taper Forum, where he won a Drama Logue Award for the west-coast premiere of The Real Thing. His many New York productions include the Broadway premiere of Bent, for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination, and the off-Broadway production of No End of Blame, which earned him an Obie Award. More recent theatre outings include the world premiere of A. R. Gurney’s Buffalo Gal, at the prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Gurney’s Ancestral Voices with Broadway veteran Marian Seldes, also at Williamstown. He has worked with Royal Shakespeare Company founder Sir Peter Hall, in Sir Peter’s production of Romeo and Juliet, as well as with another RSC artistic director, Terry Hands, in Mr. Hand’s Broadway production of Macbeth. He appeared in the Midwest premier of Art at Chicago’s Royal George Theatre, the U.S. premiere of Money and Friends at the Doolittle Theatre in Los Angeles, and in A. R. Gurney’s Love Letters in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Fe, New Mexico.Born and raised in the Midwest, Michael spent his school years in Chicago, and part of every summer in rural Iowa. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B. A. in Speech and Theatre, and earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in acting from the School of Drama at Yale University.
He married casting director Elza Bergeron in 1984. They have two children, Theodore and Katharine. Daughter Katie is the mother of Michael’s two grandchildren, Nicholas and Allison. Michael and his wife divide their time among homes in Southern California, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.His hobbies include reading, writing, yoga, thumbing through unremarkable screenplays, and devoting himself to an endless variety of obsessive-compulsive activities. As a grandson and great-grandson of railroaders, he is a life-long railroad fan, particularly of the former Santa Fe Railway. He is an amateur railway historian, photographer, and award-winning railroad modeler. He and Elza also collect Santa Fe dining car china, silver, and other memorabilia. One of their great joys is riding trains together, wherever they can find them; and, partly to ensure they will always have a train to ride, Michael and Elza are part owners of the Santa Fe Southern Railway, an eighteen-mile freight and passenger carrier headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico — finally, a train he doesn’t have to pack away after Christmas!
Michael has been active in various charitable pursuits. Some of his past work has included work with World Vision, animal welfare, anti-drug programs, responsible gun ownership, and AIDS research. He has been a spokesman for the ALS Association (Lou Gherig’s disease). Michael and his wife are particularly active with Futures For Children, a sponsorship and self-help program working with Southwestern Native American tribes. They are Foundation Board members of the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Michael was, for many years, the national spokesman for Operation Lifesaver, a national safety organization devoted to railroad crossing safety. He is the recipient of the American Hero Award for his charitable activities.He is currently hard at work on his latest mid-life crisis.