Whatever Happened to Justine Bateman?

You could argue that Famly Ties remains the prototypical 80s sitcom. The show chronicled the trial and tribulations of the Keaton family and reflected on the societal shift from the liberal ideals of the 60s and 70s to the more culturally conservative 80s.

The show’s premise was most notably depicted in the relationship between the family’s parents, Elyse and Stephen Keaton, and their son Alex P. Keaton, portrayed by Micheal J. Fox. But, Alex wasn’t the only Keaton child that found his way onto the American television sets during the show’s run on NBC.

Justine Bateman played Alex’s older sister Mallory. While not as outwardly political as her brother Alex, Bateman’s Mallory embraced the rampant consumerism of the decade in which the show aired which was in stark contrast to her parent’s “hippy” idea’s of free love and communal living.

Bateman portrayed Mallory for the show’s full 7-season run from 1982-1989. It was her first acting job, and it propelled her immediate national notoriety.

Near the end of the show, Bateman seemed poised to follow in her on-screen brother’s success in Hollywood with a starring role in the major motion picture, Satisfaction. Bateman not only starred in the movie but was also credited for the lead vocals on most of the songs on the soundtrack.

However, the movie did not do well at the box office and was not viewed favorably by critics. A review from the New York Times called it “a typical, low-budget summer movie, where everyone has a hot romance, a good body and an expensive hair cut.”

After that Bateman began to fade from public view. However, Bateman never stopped working. She appeared in multiple TV movies over the decades and made guest appearances on multiple hit shows, including Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Desperate Housewives, Californication and alongside her real-life brother Jason Bateman on Arrested Development.

According to an article at Biography, Bateman has been very busy away from the screen as well. She launched her own fashion line and “has immersed herself in a variety of digital media projects.”

She made her directorial debut in 2017 with the short film 5 Minutes which was selected to play at various film festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival. Vanity Fair reports that since that time she “has become a renown director of short films…as well as features…like Violet, starring Olivia Munn and Justin Theroux.”

Bateman is also an author. Her book Fame: The Hijacking of Reality is more than another celebrity memoir, Vanity Fair reports, it “is a book about the complicated aspects of fame…What it’s like to have fame. What feels like to lose fame. What it feels like to live in a country…obsessed with fame, filled with those seeking to achieve it, and those unlucky enough to no longer be sheathed within its seemingly warm embrace.”

It is a subject that Bateman is uniquely qualified to write about.