The world knows him for his charm and wit, for his stellar performances on “Family Ties” and “Back to the Future,” and for his courage in the face of Parkinson’s disease. Recently, Michael J. Fox made a special appearance on “The View” to discuss his life, career, and a new documentary, “Still: The Michael J. Fox Movie.”
The documentary offers an intimate look at Fox’s life, merging scenes from his illustrious film career with moments from his personal life. It walks us through the ups and downs of Fox’s journey with Parkinson’s over the last 30 years, making it not only an autobiography but also a powerful narrative about a man’s resilience in the face of adversity.
Fox’s early life, even before his big break in Hollywood, is also covered in the film. Born in Edmonton, Canada, he was a scrappy kid who dropped out of high school and convinced his father to drive him to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams. It wasn’t an overnight success story. He opened up about the struggles he faced during his initial years in LA, including a period when he had to resort to eating jelly from IHOP and Denny’s because times were so tough.
Despite the hardships, Fox persevered, landing the role of Alex P. Keaton on “Family Ties,” a character that he made so appealing that he won three consecutive Emmys. Remarkably, neither the show’s creator nor the network originally wanted him for the role. But Fox’s talent was undeniable, and his portrayal of Alex made him a household name.
Among his many memorable roles, perhaps none is as iconic as Marty McFly in “Back to the Future.” Fox shared anecdotes from the film’s premiere, including his surprise at sitting next to Princess Diana. He also revealed one regret from his career – turning down a chance to work alongside Whoopi Goldberg in “Ghost.”
A significant part of the conversation revolved around Fox’s personal life, particularly his enduring relationship with his wife, Tracy. They met on the set of “Family Ties” and have been together for nearly 35 years. Fox spoke warmly of the moment he fell in love with her, showcasing a softer side to the well-known actor.
In 1991, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement. However, he didn’t publicly reveal his diagnosis for seven years, during which he grappled with how to continue his acting career while managing his health.
Since revealing his diagnosis, Fox has been a vocal advocate for Parkinson’s research. He founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which has raised nearly $2 billion for research. The Foundation has been instrumental in a recent breakthrough that could lead to the early identification of the disease, even before symptoms are evident.
Fox’s story, as shown in the documentary and his conversation on “The View,” is a testament to his resilience and determination. From his early struggles to his Hollywood success, and his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s, Fox continues to inspire many with his grit and positive spirit.
His story teaches us that life is about more than the cards we’re dealt. It’s about how we play them. Michael J. Fox may have been dealt a challenging hand, but he has undoubtedly played his cards with grace, strength, and an unwavering commitment to make a difference.