Birth name Michael Andrew Fox NationalityCanada Birth 9 june 1961 (62 years) at Edmonton (Canada) Awards Screen Actors Guild Award, Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award, Saturn Award, People's Choice Award, Grammy Award, Officer of the Order of Canada
Michael Andrew Fox, OC (born June 9, 1961), known as Michael J. Fox, is a Canadian-American actor, author, producer, and advocate. With a film and television career spanning from the 1970s, Fox's roles have included Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy (1985–1990); Alex P. Keaton from NBC's Family Ties (1982–1989), for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award; and Mike Flaherty in ABC's Spin City (1996–2001), for which he won an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991 and disclosed his condition to the public in 1998. Fox semi-retired from acting in 2000 as the symptoms of his disease worsened. He has since become an advocate for research toward finding a cure; he created the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and on March 5, 2010, Sweden's Karolinska Institutet gave him a honoris causa doctorate for his work in advocating a cure for Parkinson's disease.
Since 2001, Fox has mainly worked as a voice-over actor in films such as Stuart Little and Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire. On the CBS TV show The Good Wife, he earned Emmy nominations for three consecutive years for his recurring role as crafty attorney Louis Canning. Fox has also taken recurring guest roles and cameo appearances in Boston Legal, Scrubs, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Rescue Me. He has released three books: Lucky Man: A Memoir (2002), Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (2010). He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2010.
Fox married actress Tracy Pollan on July 16, 1988, at West Mountain Inn in Arlington, Vermont. The couple have four children: son Sam Michael (born May 30, 1989), twin daughters Aquinnah Kathleen and Schuyler Frances (born February 15, 1995), and daughter Esmé Annabelle (born November 3, 2001). Fox holds dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship. On February 28, 2010, Fox provided a light-hearted segment during the 2010 Winter Olympics' closing ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia, wherein he expressed how proud he is to be Canadian. On June 4, 2010, the city of Burnaby, British Columbia, honoured Fox by granting him the Freedom of the City. Fox and his family reside in Manhattan, New York.
Health and activism
Fox started displaying symptoms of early-onset Parkinson's disease in 1991 while shooting the movie Doc Hollywood, although he was not properly diagnosed until the next year. After his diagnosis, Fox began drinking more heavily than in the past; however, he sought help and stopped drinking altogether. In 1998, he decided to go public with his condition, and since then he has been a strong advocate of Parkinson's disease research. His foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, was created to help advance every promising research path to curing Parkinson's disease, including embryonic stem cell studies.
Fox manages the symptoms of his Parkinson's disease with the drug carbidopa/levodopa, and he also had a thalamotomy in 1998.
His first book, Lucky Man, focused on how, after seven years of denial of the disease, he set up the Michael J Fox Foundation, stopped drinking and began to be an advocate for people living with Parkinson's disease.
In Lucky Man, Fox wrote that he did not take his medication prior to his testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee in 1999 (full C-Span video clip);
I had made a deliberate choice to appear before the subcommittee without medication. It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease, and the urgency we as a community were feeling, be seen as well as heard. For people who had never observed me in this kind of shape, the transformation must have been startling
Michael J. Fox, Lucky Man
In an interview with NPR in April 2002, Fox explained what he does when he becomes symptomatic during an interview;
Well, actually, I've been erring on the side of caution—I think "erring" is actually the right word—in that I've been medicating perhaps too much, in the sense [that] ... the symptoms ... people see in some of these interviews that [I] have been on are actually dyskinesia, which is a reaction to the medication. Because if I were purely symptomatic with Parkinson's symptoms, a lot of times speaking is difficult. There's a kind of a cluttering of speech and it's very difficult to sit still, to sit in one place. You know, the symptoms are different, so I'd rather kind of suffer the symptoms of dyskinesia... this kind of weaving and this kind of continuous thing is much preferable, actually, than pure Parkinson's symptoms. So that's what I generally do... I haven't had any, you know, problems with pure Parkinson's symptoms in any of these interviews, because I'll tend to just make sure that I have enough Sinemet in my system and, in some cases, too much. But to me, it's preferable. It's not representative of what I'm like in my everyday life. I get a lot of people with Parkinson's coming up to me saying, "You take too much medication." I say, Well, you sit across from Larry King and see if you want to tempt it.
Interview, April 30, 2002, Fresh Air, NPR
In 2006, Fox starred in a campaign ad for then State Auditor of Missouri Claire McCaskill (D) in her 2006 Senate campaign against incumbent Jim Talent (R), expressing her support for stem cell research. In the ad, he visibly showed the effects of his Parkinson's disease;
As you might know, I care deeply about stem cell research. In Missouri, you can elect Claire McCaskill, who shares my hope for cures. Unfortunately, Senator Jim Talent opposes expanding stem cell research. Senator Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us the chance for hope. They say all politics is local, but that's not always the case. What you do in Missouri matters to millions of Americans, Americans like me.
Michael J. Fox, Campaign Advertisement for Claire McCaskill
The New York Times called it "one of the most powerful and talked about political advertisements in years" and polls indicated that the commercial had a measurable impact on the way voters voted, in an election that McCaskill won. His second book, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, describes his life between 1999 and 2009, with much of the book centered on how Fox got into campaigning for stem-cell research. On March 31, 2009, Fox appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show with Dr. Oz to publicly discuss his condition as well as his book, his family and his prime-time special which aired May 7, 2009 (Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist).
His work led him to be named one of the 100 people "whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world" in 2007 by Time magazine. On March 5, 2010, Fox received an honorary doctorate in medicine from Karolinska Institutet for his contributions to research in Parkinson's disease. He has also received an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of British Columbia.
On May 31, 2012, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the Justice Institute of British Columbia to recognize his accomplishments as a performer as well as his commitment to raising research funding and awareness for Parkinson's disease. Fox recalled performing in role-playing simulations as part of police recruit training exercises at the Institute early in his career.