Michael J. Fox Says That It’s ‘Weird’ That He Has Done So Well As He Refers To His Parkinson’s Disease

Dec 30, 2021 by apost team

Michael J. Fox, 59, is a revered actor whose work goes back to the late 1970s. He rose to fame with his role on "Family Ties" before becoming a bonafide icon of the '80s in the wildly popular Back to the Future film franchise.

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991 at the age of 29 but only went public with the diagnosis seven years later. He first quit acting in 2000 as his condition worsened but continued to take on guest roles. Since then, the 59-year-old has reprised many roles on the small screen on "Scrubs," "Boston Legal," "Designated Survivor," "The Good Wife," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Rescue Me" – even bagging an Emmy win for the latter in 2009. He even starred in his own short-lived sitcom, the "Michael J. Fox Show."

During his previous interviews, Fox had revealed that his 40-year-spanning acting career would be coming to a bittersweet end. The Emmy-award-winning Hollywood legend also revealed plans for retirement in his memoir, "No Time Like the Future," as his Parkinson's disease continues to progress. 

"The nascent diminishment in my ability to download words and repeat them verbatim is just the latest ripple in the pond," Fox wrote in his memoir, according to TODAY. "There are reasons for my lapses in memorization — be they age, cognitive issues with the disease, distraction from the constant sensations of Parkinson's, or lack of sensation because of the spine — but I read it as a message, an indicator."

Fox has endured a lot throughout his life, and he opened up about his battle with Parkinson's disease for the last 30 years in November and December 2021. 

Michael J. Fox (2016), (John Medina/WireImage/Getty Images)

Even with such an incredible filmography and the awards he continues to win, Fox admitted that acting is no longer a viable career option for him. "There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me," Fox wrote in his book. "At least for now." This is a loss for many fans of the actor who would have loved to continue seeing him on the silver screen, but Fox wants to spend quality time with his family. 

Back in November 2020, Fox spoke candidly to PEOPLE about his 30-year-long battle with Parkinson's as well as a tumor scare in 2018, which saw the actor go under the knife to remove it. 

"My short-term memory is shot," Fox said. "I always had a real proficiency for lines and memorization. And I had some extreme situations where the last couple of jobs I did were actually really word-heavy parts. I struggled during both of them."

Fox also spoke about his "darkest moment" in life – when doctors found a noncancerous tumor in his spine two years ago. According to the actor, the tumor was growing rapidly and was causing much pain in his whole body. "I was heading for paralysis if I didn't get it operated on," he said.

Fox underwent the risky surgery that same year and then went on a four-month recovery journey, which saw him learn to walk again. After his recovery, he and his family vacationed in Martha's Vinyard before returning to New York alone to film a cameo for a Spike Lee film.  


Michael J. Fox (2019), (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images/Tribeca Film Festival)

Speaking to AARP, Fox said, "I’m kind of a freak. It’s weird that I’ve done as well as I have for as long as I have." He also added, "People often think of Parkinson’s as a visual thing, but the visuals of it are nothing... It’s what you can’t see — the lack of an inner gyroscope, of a sense of balance, of peripheral perception. I mean, I’m sailing a ship on stormy seas on the brightest of days." 

But this isn't to say that he does not see how blessed his life can also be. The actor continued, "It’s hard to explain to people how lucky I am because I also have Parkinson’s. Some days are a struggle. Some days are more difficult than others," adding, "But the disease is this thing that’s attached to my life—it isn’t the driver. And because I have assets, I have access to things others don’t. I wouldn’t begin to compare my experience to that of a working guy who gets Parkinson’s and has to quit his job and find a new way to live. So, I’m really lucky."

His life has been riddled with challenges, but he has also relied on his gratitude and optimism through the darkest times. CBS News reported that he said in an interview, "And I really felt I just felt so much weight of that public persona being Mr. Optimist. And I still am Mr. Optimist. And I knew and in some small way, I knew in that moment, as dark as it was, that I would get back to that at some point."

Michael J. Fox (2021), (Noam Galai/Getty Images for The Michael J. Fox Foundation)

What do you think of Micheal Fox's story? Are you inspired by him? Let us know, and be sure to pass this story on to your friends and family so they too may be inspired by this amazing actor. 

Please scroll below for more stories