Before hanging up the phone, Marc Price felt it important to share something with the world that watched him stumble around adorably—if misguidedly—on the TV show that made him famous three decades ago.
“'Skippy' got a girlfriend—it finally happened," said Price, whose main claim to fame was playing the socially-inept but always well-meaning Irwin "Skippy" Handelman on the iconic sitcom "Family Ties,” which aired from 1982-89.
The actor turned game show host turned writer/producer also has carved out a living as a stand-up comedian—one who will bring his act to the local Legion tomorrow for a 7 p.m. show being hosted by the Fort Frances Voyageur Lions Club to raise money for the Arthritis Society.
Talking from St. Petersburg, Fla. before heading on a week-long gig on a cruise ship, the 48-year-old native of New Jersey was overjoyed to tell about the new love of his life: actress Angela Jones.
“We fell in love and we're as happy and excited as we can be," said Price, whose relentless attempts as "Skippy” to win the heart of Mallory Keaton (played by Justine Bateman) ended in vain but won him a legion of fans who related to his plight.
“Angela played the cab driver who picked up Bruce Willis after his fight in 'Pulp Fiction,'” Price noted.
"People still come up and know her by her character name [Esmarelda Villalobos] like they do with me.
“It's like we're kindred spirits," he added. ”We dated many years ago but were too young to understand what we had.
“She moved on, got married, had a son, split up from her husband, and we just got together again this past summer.”
Price's family moved to Hollywood when he was 11 and his father, a comedian himself, worked the local stages alongside legends such as George Burns, Milton Berle, Joey Bishop, and Don Rickles.
“I'd got to watch my dad and these other guys work, and he would always teach me and support me,” Price recalled.
“My mom would say I got it shoved down my throat. She was on the outside and didn't like show biz at all,” he admitted.
“She got out of it and became a cop," Price added. ”She said she would rather have people shooting at her.
“But in all honesty, I'm proud of my mom.”
As a 14-year-old, Price scored a guest appearance on “The Merv Griffin Show," which led to him getting the audition for "Family Ties” that turned into 52 episodes over the seven seasons that changed his life forever.
“It was a whirlwind," he remarked. ”I was very young and I'm not sure I was as grateful as I should have been, but that probably goes for the whole cast.
“Looking back on it now, it was a special opportunity and a really great time.”
Price said plans are in the works to bring a “Family Ties" show to Broadway by the same people who produced the smash theatrical production, "Wicked.”
“It's going to be on Broadway but it's not going to be a musical, which is hysterical to me,” he laughed.
Price still sees cast members now and again, having recently hung out with Scott Valentine (Mallory's boyfriend, Nick Moore), but saved his most effusive praise for Canada's own Michael J. Fox.
“If I was in a whirlwind, he was in an F5 tornado," chuckled Price about Fox's simultaneous TV fame as ultra-conservative teenager Alex P. Keaton and his skyrocketing cinematic career in the highly-popular "Back to the Future” trilogy.
“I got to ride his coattails . . . jump on the hovercraft, as it were," he added, referring to Marty McFly's favourite mode of transportation in "Back to the Future.”
"I was a little younger than him. He didn't have to take me under his wing, but he did.
“Imagine all the girls that came up,” laughed Price.
“I was forever grateful," he said. "He gave me comedy lessons about physical timing, how to hit beats.”
Price was saddened when Fox was revealed to have Parkinson's disease in 1991, but is inspired by how the 55-year-old has soldiered on—continuing to work and also be the celebrity face of the illness.
“Michael's medical condition is unfortunate, but he's done as great a job as anyone in handling it,” Price remarked.
“He's a great family man and I'm happy for him to still be with us. He's a hero of mine.”
After “Family Ties” ended, Price became a game show host and then a late-night talk show host—for one whole week.
He then got into the writing and producing end of things while also going on comedy tours with the likes of Marsha Warfield (Roz from “Night Court") and the man Price called the 1970s version of Fox, "Good Times” star Jimmie Walker.