Family Ties Wiki
Family Ties Wiki

Steven Richard Keaton is married to Elyse Keaton, and father of 4 children: Alex, Mallory, Jennifer and Andy. Steven is the general manager of WKS. Steven is portrayed by Michael Gross.


Steven grew up in Buffalo, New York.[5] He was raised in a cold and unemotional manner by Jacob Keaton, who viewed affection as a sign of weakness.[6] Steven worked a paper route, but would sometimes refuse to collect money from customers who couldn't afford the paper, much to Jacob's irritation.[7]

Steven worked at the Paradise Hotel in Atlantic City in the summer of 1959, before he met Elyse.[8]

Steven used to be a hall monitor.[9] He was a yearbook editor in high school.[10] He says that the moment he first saw Elyse, he knew they were going to be together.[11] When they started dating, most of Elyse's friends disliked him, despite his efforts to learn to get along with them.[12] He and Elyse went to the prom together, where they danced to "Our Day Will Come."[13] When he was eighteen, he briefly worked at Jake's dry-cleaning shop, spending ten- to twelve-hour days pressing collars and cuffs in 100-degree heat. Jake hoped that Steven would keep working at the shop, but instead Steven went off to California.[14]

According to most episodes, Steven and Elyse met in high school. However, this is contradicted by several episodes. According to the Pilot, he worked for Richard Nixon for a few weeks in 1960 in order to impress a Young Republican named Sandra Fudderman, although based on the birthdate seen on his passport, he would have been too young in 1960 to work for Richard Nixon. According to Just One Look, Steven and Elyse met in freshman year. Elyse couldn't find her class, and Steven had a map of Spain but no map of the campus, so they both skipped school and spent the day wandering around town getting ice cream, browsing through bookstores, and falling in love. This would be highly unusual behavior for high schoolers but would make more sense for college students. Flashbacks in My Back Pages show Steven as a college student asking Elyse out. In The Boys Next Door, Steven goes to Elyse's high school reunion and doesn't know anyone.

Steven attended college in Berkeley, where his GPA was about 3.248.[15] He and Elyse lived in a house that had about fifteen residents at any given time, including Richard Schofield[16] (although this is contradicted by Steven's reference to "our" dorm room in My Back Pages). Steven wrote three blues songs called the Berkeley Blues Trilogy, which he and Elyse used to perform together in local coffee houses.[17] Before he married Elyse, he said that he wouldn't tell his future children what to do, although he later changed his mind.[18] He worked on a college newspaper called Scavenger, whose other staff members included Elyse, Matt, Cameron Wallace, and Monica. Steven proposed to Elyse after he got accepted into the Peace Corps because they couldn't guarantee they'd be sent to the same place unless they were married.[19] During Steven's first year of college, he spent a few months in Alaska working on a newspaper. Elyse persuaded him to take the job because she thought they should spend a few months apart in order to be really sure that they really loved each other enough to get married. Steven wanted to see other people during that time, but didn't find any dating opportunities in Alaska. When Steven got back to California, he and Elyse were so happy to see each other that they decided to get married right away.[20] Steven and Elyse were married in May 1964,[21][22], when they were both nineteen.[23] (According to Mallory in The Homecoming, they were engaged at eighteen and married at twenty, although this contradicts their birthdates.) Their wedding was in Golden Gate Park, where Charlie Donnelly tried to interrupt the ceremony with tear gas.[24] At some point before they had kids, the two of them lived together in an apartment.[25]

Steven and Elyse served in the Peace Corps in Africa during their college years. Alex was born in 1965, ten months into their time there.[26] Early in their marriage, Steven wrote a 350-page play based on his and Elyse's romance called A Draft Card for the Burning, starring Elyse as Sequoia Free, that was performed during Alex's infancy.[27] As of Mallory's birth in 1967, Steven was still a student at Berkeley.[28] He has a master's degree.[29] At some point during Steven's time at Berkeley, he ran for president of the South Campus Aluminum Can Recycling Club, but lost to a guy named Warren McCracken. Later he ran again, and won.[30]

Steven and Elyse were involved in political activism and the hippie movement in the 1960s. As of Have Gun, Will Unravel, they've been to seven peace rallies, plus one that they thought was for peace but was actually for legalizing prostitution. They've been arrested three times, were involved in 15 subversive political protests between 1966 and 1973,[31] and spent the Democratic National Convention of '68 in jail.[32] They also danced naked in the rain at Woodstock. One of their arrests was during a protest in front of the Justice Department. Before they were taken away, Steven told Elyse, "The day I pick up a weapon against another man is the day I admit defeat as a human being." On the same day, they beat the National Guard 6-1 in a frisbee tournament.[33]

By the time Jennifer was born in 1972, the family had settled in Columbus.[34]


Physical Description[]

Throughout the Series[]

Season 1[]

In Elyse D'Arc, Steven wins the Midwest Regional Murray Award for Outstanding PBS Documentary for "The Egret's Regret."

Season 2[]

Steven grows a beard between Seasons 1 and 2.

Season 3[]

In Here We Go Again, Steven learns to his shock that Elyse is pregnant with Andrew Keaton. In Birth of a Keaton: Part 1, Elyse is going to sing and play guitar on WKS for a pledge drive, but Steven misses her performance because he has to go home to talk to Bud Carlson. Steven is watching Elyse on TV when she unexpectedly goes into labor. In Birth of a Keaton: Part 2, Steven, Bud, and Skippy rush to the hospital in a blizzard, only to find that Elyse isn't there. The three of them go to WKS with Dr. Alexander so she can deliver Elyse's baby.

Season 4[]

Steven is promoted to Midwest regional manager of PBS, a much more lucrative position that gives him a lot more creative freedom. During the next few weeks, Steven works well into the night almost every day and barely sees his family. He eventually decides to go back to his old position at WKS.[35]

Season 5[]

Season 6[]

Season 7[]

Steven has a heart attack. He needs a quadruple bypass surgery and spends ten days in the hospital.[36][37][38] He has trouble adjusting to his post-heart attack life, especially with Elyse reminding him not to exert himself and feeding him disgusting health food like seaweed bran pudding with plankton whip.[39]