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.