Meredith Hope Eaton is an American actress who has garnered fame for portraying Emily Resnick in the CBS television series ‘Family Law’, Bethany Horowitz in the ABC series ‘Boston Legal’, and Matilda Webber in the CBS series ‘MacGyver’. Distinguished by her height (4 feet or 1.2 m), she prefers to call herself a “short stature actress”. A native of New York, Eaton received a master’s degree in clinical psychology and was employed as a psychotherapist in a psychiatric hospital for a considerable period. In 2001, she made her screen debut in an episode of ‘NYPD Blues.’ She was originally cast in her first film, ‘Unconditional Love’, in 1999 but it was not released until 2002. Her performance in the film led to her joining the cast of ‘Family Law’. Eaton has made guest appearances in shows like ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ and ‘Without a Trace’. In 2017, she became a member of the cast of ABC’s reboot of ‘MacGyver’ as the authoritative newest Director of Operations at Phoenix Foundation, Matilda Webber.
Meredith Eaton’s career in the entertainment industry started in 1999 when she answered an open casting call for the comedy film ‘Unconditional Love’. She successfully auditioned for the role of Maudey and got the chance to work alongside the likes of Kathy Bates, Rupert Everett, and Dan Aykroyd. Since its release, the film has achieved a cult classic status.
‘Unconditional Love’ did not come out until 2002. As a result, Eaton had her screen debut in the season eight episode ‘Family Ties’ of ABC’s police procedural drama ‘NYPD Blue’. She later made a guest appearance in the ABC sitcom ‘Dharma & Greg’.
Her performance in ‘Unconditional Love’ drew the attention of Paul Haggis, who wrote the character Emily Resnick for her on his legal drama TV show ‘Family Law’. Between 2001 and 2002, she appeared in 21 episodes of the show. ‘Family Law’ aired its final episode on May 27, 2002. Her portrayal of Emily Resnick has made her the first female dwarf actress to play a regular role in an American primetime show.
After ‘Family Law’, she did not land any other substantial acting work for some time and decided to fall back on a career as a clinical psychologist. She took a job as a psychotherapist in a psychiatric hospital where she worked with criminally insane patients. According to Eaton, she did not feel safe at all for the one and a half years she worked there. She eventually left the hospital to work as a therapist for individual and group crisis intervention and family therapy. She simultaneously made guest appearances in various popular TV shows. In 2003, she played Melody in Victor Levin’s telefilm ‘Mr. Ambassador’. She appeared in a season three episode of Fox’s medical drama ‘House’, playing the protective mother Maddy Ralphean.
The role of Bethany Horowitz, a romantic interest of William Shatner's character Denny Crane, was created for her by ‘Boston Legal’ showrunner David E. Kelley. Eaton first appeared in the show in the season three episode ‘New Kids on the Block’ (2006). Her final appearance was in the season five premiere, ‘Smoke Signals’ (2008). She played immunologist Carol Wilson in CBS' ‘NCIS’ and its spin-off ‘NCIS: New Orleans’. She also portrayed the recurring role of Meredith Oberling in CBS’ comedy-drama TV series ‘Battle Creek’ in 2015.
Her cinematic credits include ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ (2011), ‘Veronica Mars’ (2014), and ‘Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones’ (2014). She is currently portraying Matilda Webber, the newest Director of Operations at Phoenix Foundation, in ABC’s ‘MacGyver’.
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Family & Personal Life
Born on August 26, 1974, in Manhattan, New York, USA, Meredith Eaton was raised in Long Island. Her mother is Diane Eaton, a renowned social worker. Her father has worked as an administrative law judge.
She was a student of George W. Hewlett High School in Hewlett, New York, and later studied at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. After graduating in 1996 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and minoring in theatre, she enrolled at the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University to pursue a master’s degree in clinical psychology. She subsequently worked for United Cerebral Palsy, a non-profit organization in New York. She later moved to California.
On May 20, 2001, Eaton married actor Michael Gilden, who is also four feet tall. Gilden committed suicide by hanging himself at his home in Los Angeles on December 5, 2006. He was 44 years old at the time.
She married her second husband, photographer Brian S. Gordon, on October 12, 2008. She later gave birth to their child, a daughter.