From Cute to Convict: 'Family Ties' Star Now

Brian Bonsall and other stars of "Family Ties" then and now.

ByABC News
December 8, 2009, 4:51 PM

Dec. 9, 2009— -- Compared to the Gosselins, the Kardashians and the Hogans on television today, the fictional Keaton family, which defined the 1980s, appears almost quaint.

The Keatons -- Steven, Elyse, Alex, Mallory, Jennifer and Andrew -- were a nuclear family that stayed together over the seven-year run of the iconic television sitcom "Family Ties."

"By one of these quirks in the time-space continuum, we were the only nuclear family on television, the show's creator Gary David Goldberg told Matt Lauer when the five original cast members reunited on the "Today" show last year.

And America loved them. At the height of its popularity, "Family Ties," which was about 1960s hippie parents raising their conservative children during the Reagan years, was watched by a third of the television audience.

"We caught the crest of a wave there," said Michael J. Fox, who played Alex P. Keaton, the ultraconservative, success-driven son. "We thought we were having fun with it, but it was having fun with us. It was big, it was huge."

It's a testament to the show's enduring imprint that Meredith Baxter, who played the mom Elyse Keaton, could make headlines last week with the announcement that she is gay.

Brian Bonsall, who played the Keaton's fourth child Andrew in the show's last two seasons, made headlines of a different kind this week. The 28-year-old was arrested in Colorado for investigation of an assault.

According to Colorado Daily, Bonsall was picked up by police last Saturday at the home of his best friend Micheal Trujillo. Both had been drinking heavily and arguing loudly. According to the arrest report obtained by Colorado Daily, Bonsall struck Trujillo with a splintered bar stool, but remembers nothing.

"Bonsall then said that he and Trujillo both are bipolar and like drugs," the report said. "Bonsall said he takes a lot of drugs and sometimes those drugs make him forget things."

Perhaps Bonsall, whose face and neck are covered with numerous tattoos and piercings, is trying to forget his brief success as cute Little Andy. Sadly, he's followed the route of many former child actors.