Movies and tv: Michael Gross

(Only a bit of language here.)

Came by me a little while ago: a Law & Order episode from 2000 in which I recognized the actor Michael Gross — which reminded me of a 2002 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode with Gross playing a particularly creepy murderer. Yes, Michael Gross, the amiable dad on Family Ties.

The L&O shows have a tremendous appetite for actors, and they’re inclined to cast familiar actors playing characters far from their usual range of roles. Like Gross as a bad guy.

The shows in question:

L&O season episode 16, “Trade This” (3/1/00): The murder of a stockbroker points to a coworker and supervisor (Michael Gross (actor)) involved with organized crime when a hired hit man kills the prime suspect.

L&O: SVU season 4, episode 4, “Lust” (10/18/02): The wife of a retired attorney (Michael Gross), a public health doctor, is found murdered and raped in Central Park. Her work involved contacting sexual partners of HIV patients, which gives the detectives a long list of suspects. The discovery of a second body in Central Park with the same signature shifts the focus to a serial killer; however, the trail leads to a man who has no knowledge of the crimes but has a distant connection to the doctor and her husband.

Now Gross on Wikipedia:

Michael Edward Gross (born June 21, 1947) is an American television, movie, and stage actor who plays both comedic and dramatic roles. His most notable roles are as Steven Keaton from the sitcom Family Ties, which ran from 1982 until 1989, and the graboid hunter Burt Gummer from the Tremors film franchise [beginning in 1990].

… He is an amateur railroad historian, photographer, modeler, and part-owner in a working railroad, the Santa Fe Southern Railway, a former branch line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway which operates between Lamy and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

On Family Ties:

Family Ties is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 22, 1982 until May 14, 1989. The series, created by Gary David Goldberg, reflected the move in the United States from the cultural liberalism of the 1960s and 1970s to the conservatism of the 1980s. This was particularly expressed through the relationship between young Republican Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) and his ex-hippie parents, Steven and Elyse Keaton (Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter).

(#1)

(Gross, Fox, Baxter in front)

On Tremors:

Tremors is a 1990 American western monster film directed by Ron Underwood, written by Brent Maddock, S. S. Wilson and Underwood, and starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, and Reba McEntire. [The monsters are three enormous burrowing worm-creatures eventually named graboids. They track their prey by following sound waves and can move easily through soil, but not rock.]

… The film was hailed by critics for its diverse cast and humor. Tremors holds a “fresh” rating of 84% at Rotten Tomatoes based on 32 reviews with the consensus: “An affectionate throwback to 1950s creature features, Tremors reinvigorates its genre tropes with a finely balanced combination of horror and humor.”

(#2)

The principals hiding on a rock from the graboids. Kevin Bacon on the far left, Michael Gross wielding a weapon on the far right (and Reba McEntire, playing Gross’s wife, wielding the other weapon).

A tremendously enjoyable movie.

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