In the Grey’s Anatomy episode “Flowers Grow Out of My Grave”, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) has a patient whose family is celebrating Day of the Dead, making the doctors remember loved ones they have lost. Richard (James Pickens Jr.) shares unexpected news with Meredith about her father, Thatcher — he’s sick again. (Remember, Richard had an affair with Meredith’s mother, surgeon Ellis Grey, when she was married to Thatcher; Ellis died in 2007.)
After Meredith’s parents divorced, she lived with her mother and was estranged from her father for 20 years. When her mother was dying, Meredith found her father and asked why he didn’t try to be a part of her life. He didn’t give her a satisfying answer. Thatcher remarried Susan Grey and had two more daughters, Lexie (Chyler Leigh) and Molly. (Lexie was a surgical resident at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital when she died in the 2012 plane crash.) When Thatcher’s wife Susan contracted an infection and died in surgery, Thatcher slapped Meredith saying she let Susan down. He showed up at the hospital drunk and forbade Meredith to go to Susan’s funeral. Thatcher struggled with alcoholism and then got sober. When he needed a liver transplant, Meredith gave him a piece of her liver. The last time Thatcher appeared on Grey’s Anatomy was in the Season 7 (2011) episode “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” — that’s Thatcher with his twentysomething tattooed girlfriend Danielle. Click here to watch the episode.
Thatcher Grey has been portrayed by Jeff Perry, who’s also known for his role as Cyrus Beene on Scandal. The actor is married to Linda Lowy, casting director for Grey’s Anatomy’s and Scandal. Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 pm on ABC, right before Station 19.