Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The lovely Meredith Baxter comes out gracefully

Meredith Baxter has come out in the most admirable way: On her own terms, as a positive act, and with her dignity and gorgeousness intact.

The image of Meredith Baxter, or Meredith Baxter Birney as we knew her, is about as wholesome as it gets. But the appealing thing about her characters was they always seemed to have something serious going on beneath the distracting beauty and the soft voice. In a scene from Family, the 1970s TV drama, Meredith's character Nancy says to her mother, "You've always had my number, haven't you?" Honestly, you could watch this scene and be convinced the topic is Meredith's lesbianism. By the way, Meredith starred in Family with Kristy McNichol. Sapphic coincidence?

Meredith has been famous for a long time, which is one of the fascinating elements to her coming out. Everyone knows who she is. And everyone knows her as wholesome and extraordinarily pretty. Unbelievably, she's 62 (!) and still hot. I love her particularly for her role in All the President's Men, in which she played the wife of Hugh Sloan, one of Nixon's money men. When Woodward and Bernstein show up at her door, she says, "This is an honest house." And you believe her. You believe deeply that she and her husband are good and decent people even though they are Republicans.

According to the photos, Meredith's girlfriend Nancy Locke is blond, tanned, and ruggedly handsome like a field hockey coach. According to Meredith on the Today show, the girlfriend is a general contractor and drives a truck, in case anyone had any doubt that Meredith's GF is butch.

Baxter said she came out in part because she wants to help fight anti-gay legislation. "I'm not a political person, but this is a political act," she said. Baxter was visibly uncomfortable but admirably brave during the interview and said the decision to come out in a public manner was hard for her because she considers her personal life private. "To come out and disclose stuff is really antithetical to who I am," she said.

You can see the 8-minute Today show clip on YouTube. Or, for even more fun, watch her in this 1979 Preference by L'Oreal commercial: Because she's worth it.

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