For many years, Michael J. Fox has been a favorite actor of people all over the globe. In his iconic portrayal as Marty McFly, he first appeared on screens and won the general public’s hearts.
Over the past few years, the actor has struggled with health problems. Since he has always been honest about his struggles, he now discusses how Parkinson’s disease has impacted his acting career.
When Michael J. Fox received the heartbreaking news that he had Parkinson’s Disease, he was just 29 years old. He was at the height of his acting career and understood that despite his diagnosis, he would not give up acting.
He chose, instead, to incorporate his diagnosis into his performances. He portrayed an OCD psychiatrist on the television series House in 2004. He also portrayed Louis Canning in The Good Wife, a lawyer who used his neurological disorder to influence jurors on his behalf.
But as he approaches 60 years old, the actor acknowledges that playing is becoming increasingly difficult for him. He admitted that he was finding it harder and harder to handle memorizing lines.
“I couldn’t remember the lines when I did the spinoff from The Good Wife, which is The Good Fight. I just had this blank; I couldn’t remember the lines,” he recently said on the Working It Out podcast.
He used to be able to memorize lines in a matter of seconds, but now it is nearly impossible for him to do so due to the memory loss caused by his illness, which has made it difficult for him to work as an actor.
He remembered the actor’s ease with remembering lines back then. He said, “I knew it in an instant, and it continued to be that way for me. I[’d] have 70 pages of dialogue on a [Brian] De Palma movie, and knowing that a hugely expensive Steadicam shot depends on me knowing the lines—not a trickle of sweat on my brow.”
He no longer accepts parts that require him to remember many lines. “I can’t remember five pages of dialogue. I can’t do it,” he admitted. I’m not capable of doing it. But he has handled it well because he knows his limited options.
A few years back, the actor admitted that he started to trip and fall uncontrollably. Even though he knew Parkinson’s disease might have played a role, the actor quickly realized something else was going on with his body.
Fox had experienced recurrent spinal cord issues, but doctors told him it wasn’t life-threatening. It was made clear that if he did nothing, it would impact his existence.
As per the New York Times, he said: “I was told it was benign, but if it stayed static, I would have diminished feeling in my legs and difficulty moving. Then all of a sudden, I started falling a lot. It was getting ridiculous. I was trying to parse what was Parkinson’s and what was the spinal thing. But it came to the point where it was probably necessary to have surgery.”
Fox endured spinal cord surgery a few years ago, following which he started a rigorous physical therapy regimen. Sadly, his issues continued after that.
“I did it all,” he said, “and people eventually asked me to do some acting. Last August I was supposed to go to work. I woke up, walked into the kitchen to get breakfast, misstepped, and went down. I fractured the hell out of my arm. I ended up getting 19 pins and a plate. It was such a blow.”
He responded, when asked how he overcame the blow, “I don’t talk about things being ‘for a cause.'”
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images
“I think the more unexpected something is, the more there is to learn from it. In my case, what made me skip down the hallway to the kitchen thinking I was fine when I’d been in a wheelchair six months earlier? It’s because I had certain optimistic expectations of myself, and I’d had results to bear those expectations, but I’d had failures too. And I hadn’t given the failures equal weight.”
Since receiving his prognosis, he has written a lot. No Moment Like the Future, his fourth autobiography, was published. The performer claimed that his entry into writing was straightforward: “My guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no longer good; my dancing never was good, and my acting is getting tougher. So it’s down to writing. Luckily, I enjoy it.”
The performer has never been depressed by his illness. To discover a cure, he established the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which has raised over $1 billion.
The actor has repeatedly talked about his optimism, saying he told AARP, “If you can find something to be grateful for, then optimism is sustainable. At 60, I feel like, despite this thing I carry every day, I love my life, my wife, and my kids. Parkinson’s is just this thing that’s attached to my life. It isn’t the driver. I’m really lucky and try to spread that luck around.”
The actor recently made news when he reconnected with Christopher Lloyd, his Back to the Future franchise co-star. At a panel they participated in, they discussed how Back to the Future had already begun principal photography when Fox was chosen to portray Marty McFly.
“The announcement at one o’clock in the morning after we were shooting for six weeks was that the actor playing Marty would no longer be playing Marty and that tomorrow, we would start shooting with Michael,” Lloyd recalled, according to SyFy.
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images
“I felt that I barely made it through the [first] six weeks, and now I was gonna have to do it again?!”
Fox accepted the part, despite his mother’s initial reservations regarding his previous involvement with Family Ties.
“The chemistry was there from the first scene we had, it was alive, and it remained that way for three movies,” Lloyd said. “It hasn’t gone away, by the way.”
Fox briefly mentioned his Parkinson’s disease during the panel at NYCC.
“You guys have given me my whole life,” he said.
The actor received a diagnosis in 1991, and in 1998 he disclosed it to the world. In 2000, he established the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which aims to discover a treatment for the illness. The Parkinson’s disease charity receives the most funding overall.
“The best thing that happened in my life was this thing. Parkinson’s is a gift. I’ve told people it’s a gift, and they say, ‘You’re nuts.’ I say, ‘Yeah, but it’s the gift that keeps taking.’ But it’s a gift, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s not about what I have but what I’ve been given.”
The actor was seen stumbling as he entered the stage during his most recent public performance at the New York Comic Con due to his Parkinson’s diagnosis. Fans in the audience clapped for the actor as he struggled to enter the platform due to tremors. After such a lengthy absence, everyone was overjoyed to see the adored actor again.
Even though the performer has a thick skin from years of experience, there are times when he does not ignore insults. He does not frequently get them, but occasionally trolls target him.
He related an instance in which he received a derogatory remark online and, rather than ignoring it, chose to respond to it.
He asked his 33-year-old son Sam for assistance in this situation. His son told him to “Do SMH” in this situation. His son advised his father to believe him when he questioned what “SMH” stood for. The elder actor did that and laughed at the troll’s response.
The troll was converted into a fan with just three characters.
Fox recalled that the troll replied, “He answers me back, ‘That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever read in my life. You’re the king of the internet. I apologize for anything I said to you,’ blah blah blah.”
When he questioned his son about what his father had written that had the troll become a fan so fast, the boy explained the acronym’s meaning, “shaking my head.”
Even though Michael J. Fox is portrayed as an upbeat person with a lot of kindness, there is a limit to how much he can take insults. It’s fortunate that he has kids who can keep him on his toes regarding comebacks.
Michael J. Fox is, without question, one of the most inspirational people around. We wish him luck in his fight against Parkinson’s disease and his initiatives to increase public knowledge of it.
Find More Articles 👇 👇 👇