‘Family Ties’: Scott Valentine ‘Felt Bad’ About His Role on the Show

In 1982, a sitcom debuted that was one of the most popular TV shows of the decade. Family Ties was a huge hit for the next seven years, launching the careers of actors such as Michael J. Fox and Justine Bateman. One of the actors who got his lucky break on the popular sitcom was Scott Valentine. He played Nick, the boyfriend of Bateman’s character Mallory. But despite the fact that Family Ties was a huge step forward for Valentine, there’s one thing about the show that still bothers him. Fans of the program may remember Nick fondly, but Valentine isn’t such a fan. 

Scott Valentine smiling in front of a blurred background
Scott Valentine | Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

Scott Valentine’s backstory

RELATED: Where Are the Biggest Sitcom Stars of the ’80s Today?

According to IMDb, Valentine grew up in Saratoga Springs, New York. He discovered a love of acting at only five years old, staging plays in his parents’ garage. After high school, he went to college for a few years, then transferred to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, finishing their three-year program in only a year and a half. 

After school, he stayed in New York, and as a struggling actor, he worked as a short-order cook and a researcher for a publishing firm. In 1981, it seemed that he was close to his big break, landing a screen test for a role in a feature film. Unfortunately, that opportunity was lost when he was hit by a truck. After he spent three years recovering from his injuries, Valentine moved to Los Angeles. There, he landed his biggest role ever. 

Nick on ‘Family Ties’

RELATED: 12 of the Best ’80s Sitcoms You Can Stream During Quarantine

When Family Ties hit the airwaves in 1982, the quirky sitcom became an instant hit. Saratoga Living reports that it went on to run for seven successful seasons, and it won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe.  It featured the Keaton family, a mom, a dad, and four kids. The parents were portrayed as politically liberal former hippies, while their oldest son was a staunch Reagan Republican

In the fourth season, a new character was introduced as the boyfriend of Mallory, the Keaton’s oldest daughter. Valentine played the part of Nick Moor, an off-beat young man who didn’t seem very bright, but had a big heart. Valentine was so popular as Nick that the temporary role was extended, and he appeared in 45 episodes. In 1989, after the show ended, the network tried to create a spinoff series starring Valentine as Nick, but the project never took off. Despite all the attention that Nick brought him, there’s still one thing about the role that doesn’t sit right with Valentine. 

Why he ‘felt bad’

RELATED: ‘Family Ties’ Star Michael J. Fox Gets Emotional About This Very Special Episode

Although Valentine still acts occasionally, Family Ties is still his biggest success. However, according to Mental Floss, it bothered him how dumb Nick was. Valentine had studied acting at important schools, and he felt that was a strange background “so I could grunt on primetime television.” Apparently, the work didn’t seem challenging enough for the rewards he got from participating in the series. 

“It was a lot of fun, but literally there were times where I only had to utter two guttural utterances in a show and they paid me a bundle of cash for it,” he explained. “I felt bad at times.” These days Valentine works as a hedge fund manager near his hometown of Saratoga Springs. Although a generation of fans remembers Nick fondly, he doesn’t seem to look back on the character with quite as much warmth.