His depiction of Dr. Ben Samuels in the television series “St. Elsewhere,” which is about a teaching hospital, and his role as Bridget in “Bridget Loves Bernie,” in which he costarred with Meredith Baxter, are two of the most well-known performances that David Birney has ever given. Following the conclusion of the program, he went on to wed Baxter; nevertheless, their union would eventually result in a divorce 15 years after it had begun. In 2011, Baxter claimed that he had been aggressive against him, but he denied the allegations. On April 27, 2022, despite the enmity that continued to exist between them even after they had divorced, Baxter was still able to find some positive things to say about Birney.
On April 23, 1939, Birney was born in Washington, District of Columbia. While he was growing up, his father was employed by the FBI, and his mother had a career in real estate after having worked as a housewife. Because of his outstanding academic performance, he was accepted to the prestigious Dartmouth University, where he ultimately obtained a degree in English literature. Before beginning a career in the entertainment industry, he attended the University of California in order to get a master’s degree in drama.
After that, Birney started his career on stage, most notably in the Broadway production of “Amadeus.” A few of the television series that he has been on include: The Love Boat, The Twilight Zone, Hawaii Five-O, Cannon, Glitter, Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote, and the adaptation of Serpico that was made for the small screen.
In contrast, Baxter had very little prior experience in the acting industry before landing the lead role in the 1972 film “Bridget Loves Bernie.” The daughter of radio announcer Tom Baxter and actress Whitney Blake, who was born in South Pasadena, California, on June 21, 1947, had two children with her first husband, Robert Bush, when she was just 19 years old. Her parents are Tom Baxter, who was a radio announcer, and Whitney Blake, who was an actress. After the conclusion of the first season of “Bridget Loves Bernie” in 1974, Baxter wed Birney, which led to the show’s cancellation.
Keep reading to find out how successful Baxter’s profession would become as well as the reasons why she and her husband would eventually divorce.
After the success of “Bridget Loves Bernie,” Anne Baxter went on to become well-known for her roles as the fiery matriarch of the Keaton family in the television series “Family” and “Family Ties,” both of which she appeared in. She would have three children with Birney: Kate, Mollie, and Peter. This would come on top of the expansion of her own family.
The first season of “Family” aired in 1976 and was met with positive reception from viewers. As a result, Baxter was nominated for two Emmys for her performance as Nancy Lawrence Maitland. The show included a number of well-known actors as guest performers, including Baxter’s husband Birney, her mother Blake, as well as Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Kim Cattrall, Shelley Long, and Henry Fonda. 1980 was the year that marked the last episode of the show’s run.
In the 1982 television series “Family Ties,” Baxter was given the role of Elyse Keaton. This program was centered on a young Republican who was her character’s son. Michael J. Fox played the role of this character on the show. Both her and her ex-hippie husband, Michael Gross, were included in the documentary. The concept of “cool parents, square kids” proved to be a winning combination for the program, which ran for a total of seven seasons until being canceled in 1989.
On the other hand, as Baxter’s professional career advanced, the quality of her marriage increasingly deteriorated. Baxter documented the horrible events of Birney’s abuse of her in her book titled “Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering.” These occurrences included verbal abuse, mental abuse, and physical violence. She remembered how he had demanded that she take his last name after they had been married, despite the fact that she had no interest in doing so. However, he insisted quite strongly.
“I talked myself into believing that it would be a pleasant thing to do; it was a simple thing to do if it brought David happiness. It wasn’t because I was picked on; rather, I had to make a conscious decision to change it. According to what she wrote, “in order to become Meredith Baxter-Birney, I therefore went through the legal procedure.”
She also remembered that Birney had struck her on many occasions.
She said that there was one occasion in which she “couldn’t even tell you which hand struck me or how hard since it was so sudden and unexpected.” I do recall cautioning myself not to rise up because I thought he was going to beat me again because I thought he was going to.
According to a story from 2011, she gave an interview to the Chicago Tribune in which she said, “In an abusive atmosphere, no one speaks about the abuse, so I wrote about it.” Because David’s fury would simply continually fall, you would have to take immediate action whenever you heard that Porsche pull in because he had a very short fuse. You would straighten things up and clean whatever need cleaning. It certainly seemed to be a period of horror.
Baxter urgently resorted to alcohol as a panacea for her marital problems during the bitter divorce and custody disputes that she and Birney were engaged in during the latter years of their marriage in 1989. But in the year 1990, Baxter began drinking excessively. In March 2011, Birney had furiously denied Baxter’s assertions, referring to the book as “a type of fairy tale” that comprised “an appalling misuse of the facts.”
In 1995, Baxter wed Michael Blodgett, an actor and playwright; nevertheless, the couple divorced in the year 2000 after just five years of marriage. In 2009, she came out to her family and friends as a lesbian. On December 8, 2013, Baxter married contractor Nancy Locke, who had been her partner for a number of years prior to their marriage.
After Birney died away in 2022, Baxter decided to put any leftover resentment between them behind him. As soon as she was informed of his demise, she made a statement in which she said:
“The news of David Birney’s demise has left me in a state of great shock. Our children, Kate, Peter, and Mollie, are in my thoughts and prayers constantly. They will feel a deep sense of grief at the passing of David since he had such a huge influence on their lives. My love and support extends to Michele Roberge, David’s life partner and the one who has shown him the utmost compassion and care throughout the most of their time together.