Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s nearly 30 years ago, yet the screen star has continued to work as an actor while bringing much-needed attention to the disease.
He was diagnosed at just 29 years old but kept it a secret for 7 years while struggling with depression and alcoholism after the diagnosis.
The Canadian-born actor has since gone on to win a string of awards for his roles in TV hits “Spin City”, “The Good Wife” and “Curb your Enthusiasm”.
He officially retired from acting in 2020 at 60 years old and having just starred as Louis Canning in CBS’s legal drama “The Good Fight”, a spin-off to “The Good Wife” where his character first appeared.
“I reached the point where I couldn’t rely on my ability to speak on any given day, which meant I couldn’t act comfortably at all anymore. So, last year I gave it up,” he said of his decision to retire, as per Good Morning America.
Michael shot to fame after his roles as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy and Scott Howard in Teen Wolf in the mid 80s.
Now he’s marking the 30th anniversary of his diagnosis and has opened up about the challenges he continues to face and the changes he’s experienced.
Fox previously told “Good Morning America” after a fall in 2018, he had surgery and needed to relearn how to walk.
In a new interview with AARP the Magazine, Fox said that the episode led him into “darkness” — and then out the other side. “I started to notice things I was grateful for … I concluded that gratitude makes optimism sustainable,” he said.
Fox’s work to both highlight Parkinson’s and the potential treatments for the disease, setting up the Michael J Fox Foundation, has 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.
His foundation, set up in 2000, is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through funded research.
“We created what has become this giant network of patients, scientists and institutions. We’ve put more than a billion dollars into it,” he said.
When asked about seeing a cure in his lifetime, Fox says, “I’m 60 years old, and science is hard. So, no.”
Yet the father of four and devoted husband to Tracy Pollan, who he married in 1988, remains optimistic saying, “I have things that I’ve been blessed with that are just incredible. Life is rich. Life is good.”
Michael also revealed that watching the fan-favorite “Back to the Future” also taught him to appreciate the good things in life.
“I came across it on TV last Christmas. And I thought I was really good in it, better than I thought I’d been,” he said. “More important, I got the spirit of the movie. I understood … that we all need … to take credit for what we’ve done and the lives we’ve touched and to occasionally step back a bit and appreciate that much of life has been great and that there’s a lot more to live.”
He’s a screen legend and an inspiration and I hope he continues to enjoy all the things he loves for many more years to come.
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