Michael J. Fox shocked the world back in 1998 when he revealed that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is a brain disorder that affects the mind. The person diagnosed with this disease will have trouble with walking and talking, and the disease is said to get much worse over time. In Fox’s case, he rode his diagnosis for a long time, and finally retired from acting as a result of his disease last year. His doctor recommended that Fox had should have retired from acting 20 years ago, but he kept going.
Although his roles had become more and more minimal, Michael J. Fox kept up acting by appearing on shows like American Dad, The Good Wife, The Good Fight, and the Stuart Little movies. Both American Dad and Stuart Little were easier on him in that all he was doing was voice acting. Though he has dealt with a brain disorder this entire time while working, Fox has been upbeat about his life. He said in a recent interview that he feels “Above average, for a brain-damaged man.” Those words are sobering enough to know that Parkinson’s is meant to make life incredibly difficult for the people that it infects.
Michael J. Fox was on the cover of AARP Magazine, which was in celebration of his 65th birthday. The publication also interviewed the retired actor about his life with Parkinson’s. Throughout his life, Fox has been quite candid about his experiences. He went deeper into how life has worked for him saying, “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 added, “People often think of Parkinson’s as a visual thing, but the visuals of it are nothing. On any given day, my hands could be barely shaking or they could be …” He flailed his hands around. “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.”
The analogy that Michael J. Fox is making in reference to being on a shaky boat, even on the brightest of days, is hard to think about. Every day is a struggle for the man, but that doesn’t stop him from being a philanthropist, author, and creating a non-profit for furthering the study of Parkinson’s. Simply put, he is a man that won’t be stopped by his diagnosis. That is quite a feat. His most recent book, No Time Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Morality, came out in November of 2020. Fox commented on his newest book by stating, “I’m down to this, my guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no good anymore, my dancing never was good, and acting is getting tougher to do. So it’s down to writing. Luckily, I really enjoy it.”
Michael J. Fox is doing what he can with the cards he has been dealt in life and that goes beyond giving the world one of the best characters in cinema, Marty McFly from Back to the Future. Hopefully, he can continue to live a long and impactful life considering how much joy he’s brought to others on both the big and small screen.