‘Family Ties’ cast members today

Unlike real-life families, TV families don’t have to get together for holiday dinners or backyard barbeques. But sometimes, years after their characters are a distant memory and they’ve moved on to other roles, cast members do get a chance to catch up with each other, and often in front of cameras in order to answer that dogged question so many fans still ask: “Where Are They Now?” Click through this slideshow to get a look at some recent TV reunions.

It’s impossible to talk about ’80s TV without mentioning “Family Ties,” the family sitcom that ran for seven seasons beginning in 1982. The series followed the Keaton clan, which included ex-hippie parents Steven and Elyse, conservative Reaganite teen son Alex, shopaholic sister Mallory, and pragmatic kid sis Jennifer. (New son Andrew was added to the cast during the show’s last three seasons, an addition not all fans loved.) The series was also a hotbed for up-and-coming talent and featured guest stars including Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Courteney Cox, and River Phoenix.

Just last week Michael J. Fox’s TV sister and mom, Justine Bateman and Meredith Baxter, showed their support for the actor and his foundation for Parkinson’s research when they showed up at a fundraiser in Los Angeles.

This sitcom about a widower and his two pals raising his three kids in a “Full House” – which happened to be a cool San Francisco Victorian home – premiered in the fall of 1987 and became a bona fide hit, running for eight seasons. No one could have predicted that the show would spawn billionaire entertainment moguls Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who took turns playing youngest daughter Michelle Tanner.

Lead Bob Saget reunited with his “daughters” Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, as well as costar John Stamos, at his Cool Comedy Hot Cuisine 2009 Benefiting The Scleroderma Research Foundation. The rest of his brood, Jodie Sweetin and Candace Cameron, didn’t make it, though, nor did costar Dave Coulier.

“It’s all right, ’cause I’m ‘Saved by the Bell.'” That tune was stuck in high-schoolers’ heads for much of the ’90s thanks to this sappy Saturday morning sitcom that followed cartoonish high school students including a nerd, a jock, a valley girl, and the likable class president and his perky girlfriend. Though the series only ran new episodes from 1989 until 1993, it became a pop culture phenomenon thanks to reruns as well as two spinoffs.

Stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Lark Voorhies, Elizabeth Berkley, and Tiffani Thiessen reunited for a People cover shoot last year, thanks in part to Jimmy Fallon putting the show back in the spotlight after launching a campaign for a reunion (Fallon managed to land several of the show’s stars individually). Not surprisingly, Dustin Diamond, who played the geeky Screech, and later put a sex tape on the market before writing a tell-all book about the cast, didn’t participate.

Before Kate had her eight, fictional drama “Eight is Enough” gave viewers their fix of family chaos on a weekly basis. The show followed the patriarch, played by Dick Van Patten, his wife, Abby, (played by Betty Buckley who joined the show as Tom’s new wife after Diana Hyland who played his first wife and the kids’ mom died during the first season) and the eight Bradford kids – ranging from school-age to twentysomethings – living in a big old house in Sacramento. The series ran for five seasons beginning in 1977 and became a quintessential ’70s family hit.

Earlier this year, stars Dick Van Patten, Betty Buckley, and five of the actors who played “the kids” – Grant Goodeve, Laurie Walters, Connie Newton, Willie Aames, and Dianne Kay (via satellite) reunited on “The Today Show” and reminisced about the show and the good old days. Susan Richardson, who played red-headed sister Susan, and Adam Rich, who played the bowl-haired Nicholas and had made headlines over the year for real-life run-ins with the law didn’t show, though Rich sent a statement. Lani O’Grady, who played eldest sister Mary, died in 1990 of a drug overdose.

Chances are, if you were a kid in the ’70s, at one time or another you were probably mad at your parents for not using you and your siblings to form a rock band and travel around in a psychedelic bus performing just like “The Partridge Family.” The kitschy series premiered in 1970 and ran for four groovy seasons filled with comedy and original tunes that became actual hits on the Billboard charts.

In March, as part of “The Today Show’s” TV cast reunion series, four of the original cast members, David Cassidy, Danny Bonaduce, Suzanne Crough, and Brian Forster chatted with Matt Lauer. Shirley Jones, who played mom Shirley, was busy on a tour and couldn’t make it, while Susan Dey, who played the family’s fifth kid and band member turned her back on any sort of “Partridge” events decades ago.

Back in 1980, an little-known actor named Tom Hanks was cast, alongside costar Peter Scolari, in the sitcom “Bosom Buddies,” about two pals who pretend to be women in order to live in an all-female apartment building they can afford. The series only lasted two seasons, but the rest is history…

Hanks and Scolari buddied up again this year at the 8th annual TV Land Awards where the two were presented with an award marking the series’ 30th anniversary.

The cheesy series about a single dad raising two teenagers became as much a ’90s icon as shoe boots and Vanilla Ice. Though the series mainly focused on hat-wearing title character “Blossom” (Mayim Bialik), the cast was rounded out by brothers Joey and Anthony, best friend and trouble magnet Six, and boyfriend Vinnie. The series premiered in the summer of 1990 and ran for five years.

Mayim Bialik, Jenna Von Oy (who played Blossom’s best friend Six), and Michael Stoyanov (who portrayed Anthony, Blossom’s oldest brother, who left the show in the middle of its run) poked fun at themselves when they guest starred on “‘Til Death” playing themselves in a group therapy scene. But true fans were disappointed one of the series’ biggest stars, Joey Lawrence, was nowhere to be found.

“227” followed the activities of the close-knit residents of a Washington, D.C. apartment building, but mainly focused on the Jenkins family – mom Mary (Marla Gibbs), her construction-worker husband Lester (Hal Williams), and their snarky and smart teen daughter Brenda (Regina King). Of course, who could forget the sexy, man-crazed Sandra, played by Jackee Harry. The series ran for five seasons and launched King’s successful acting career.

“The Today Show” brought the “227” cast together earlier this year and got a pretty good turn out with Marla Gibbs, Jackee Harry, Regina King, and Curtis Baldwin (who played King’s character’s neighbor boyfriend) all participating. The cast took a trip down memory lane and also took time out to remember Helen Martin and Alaina Reed Hall (“Sesame Street”) who played neighbors Pearl and Rose. Martin passed away in 2000 while Hall just died last year.

“Everybody Loves Raymond,” a simple sitcom about a Long Island sportswriter, his wife, kids, and his meddling parents and brother, clearly did something right, as the series ran for nine seasons and landed in the top 10 for most of its nearly decade-long life span, which began in the fall of 1996 and ended in the spring of 2005.

Ray Romano, his TV wife Patricia Heaton, and TV brother Brad Garrett got together at the 8th Annual TV Land Awards this year. And though they might have spent some time reminiscing, they’re all happy to have landed leading roles in new shows – Romano in “Men of a Certain Age,” Heaton in “The Middle,” and Garrett in “Til Death”

Roseanne Barr kept it real with her groundbreaking sitcom about a blue collar midwestern family struggling with everyday issues, including one that sitcom families never seemed to mention – money. American viewers clearly liked what they saw and the show cracked the top 10 in the ratings for seven of its nine seasons before saying farewell in 1997.

Last year Roseanne and costar Laurie Metcalf – who often stole the show as sister Jackie – had their own mini-reunion when they took in a Broadway show together.

Think of “California Dreams” as a cross between “Saved By the Bell” and “High School Musical.” The Saturday morning sitcom, which aired for five seasons beginning in 1992, featured a group of clean-cut teens who formed a band, which led to lots of adventures and coming-of-age-decisions. Though the show was a relative hit, it failed to churn out any big stars.

Jimmy Fallon might not have been able to pull off the “Saved by the Bell” reunion, he succeeded in bringing the cast of “California Dreams” together again. The band literally got back together Brent Gore, William James Jones, Jennie Kwan, Jay Anthony Franke, Kelly Packard, Michael Cade, and Heidi Noelle Lenhart all appeared on the show and even performed the show’s theme song.

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