The actor revealed the struggles that he’s had to live with following his diagnosis in 1991 at just twenty-nine years old.
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Fox is best known for the hit movie Back to the Future back in 1985.
And its sequels in the following years.
The star’s portrayal of Marty McFly won the hearts of viewers all over the world.
Fans loved the friendship between Fox’s high school student character and Christopher Lloyd’s Dr. Emmett Brown.
Moving on from that, Fox also won 3 Emmy Awards from 1986 to 1988 for his role as Alex P. Keaton on the popular television series Family Ties.
This is where he worked with Tracy Pollan, his future wife.
He later starred in the series Spin City.
And won another Emmy in 2000, his last year on the show.
Fox then appeared in Casualties of War, The American President, and Mars Attacks!
He also provided the voice of Stuart Little in a series of animated films based on characters from E.B White’s children’s book.
But a health scare earlier on in his career turned the actor’s life upside down…
According to reports, the actor noticed a twitch in his left pinkie.
He was then diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease.
Fox was just twenty-nine years old at the time.
Soon after his doctors told him he had ten more years to work, tops.
Fox even spoke about it in great depth and said that his “happiness grows in direct proportion [to] my acceptance.”
Fox retired from acting in 2020 but that didn’t stop him from being recognized as a star…
So much so that he was lauded for playing the role of Marty McFly in the Back to the Future franchise.
And has been awarded an Oscar for his humanitarian work!
The news was announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy President David Rubin.
They said Fox, along with a select few, will be given the award for their “indelible contributions to cinema and the world at large.”
This kind of award is “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy,” as per the announcement.
This weekend, he received the prestigious award at the Thirteenth Annual Governors Awards at the Fairmont Century Plaza.
And the presentation by Woody Harrelson was absolutely heartwrenching.
After his diagnosis, Fox later set up a Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000.
His foundation has raised over $1 billion for Parkinson’s research over the years, and subsequently, become one of the leading organizations in the battle against the degenerative disease.
Fox’s timeless optimism has won over his fans and followers…
He even told PEOPLE he’s “rocking and rolling,” during a shoot for the publication’s Kindness cover.
Although, he did admit the past year brought many new hurdles in his life…
“It got worse. I broke my cheek, then my hand.”
“Then my shoulder, had a replacement shoulder put in and broke my arm, then I broke my elbow.”
“I’m sixty-one years old, and I’m feeling it a little bit more.”
“I was never really a cranky guy, but I got very cranky and short with people,” he said.
“I try to nip it in the bud.”
“I always think of these aides who work with me. And I often say to them, ‘Whatever I say, just imagine I said “please” at the beginning and “thank you” at the end.’”
“Just take a second and absorb that I might have said that if I was more myself, but I didn’t, so I apologize,” Fox explained.
He also told the media outlet that he decided to move on after struggling to remember his lines while filming a role on Kiefer Sutherland’s Designated Survivor.
“I could look at a page and get it,” he started.
Fox added that Parkinson’s can affect cognition…
“I couldn’t focus on a line. I didn’t beat myself up. I couldn’t do it, so I didn’t do it anymore,” he said.
But that’s not all, Fox admitted how Parkinson’s disease has affected his marriage as well…
“It took me a while to get that it wasn’t just about me,” he said.
Fox admitted: “If I break my arm, I’m dealing with my broken arm.”
“But if you’re the person who lives with and loves and supports the person with the broken arm, you’ve got to do everything.”
He confessed that he finds joy in watching his kids entering adulthood…
“My youngest [children] never knew me without Parkinson’s,” he said.
“Sam was 2 or 3 when I was diagnosed.
“So they never knew anything else.
“And there’s a certain latitude you have to give someone who has Parkinson’s. You can choose how nice to be and how much to do — and how much to know not to do. That’s all about empathy,” he explained.
Fox has a new project in the works which includes an AppleTV+ documentary due in 2023.
“It’s about me and many different ways of looking at my life,” he said.
And recently, Fox accepted his prestigious Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
He was presented the Award by Woody Harrelson, who gave him a huge hug on stage.
Accepting his award, Fox said: “Once I became engaged in learning about the disease, every interaction, every new piece of information I gathered, every researcher or NIH official I talked to, all confirmed, the science was ahead of the money.
“The answers could be unlocked with the right investments. I was told I only had ten years left to work. That was s*. That’s what happened.”
“The hardest part of my diagnosis was grappling with the certainty of the diagnosis and the uncertainty of the situation!” he added.
The star went on to thank his wife, saying: “Tracy made it clear she was with me for the duration.”
After sharing some things that have challenged him since his diagnosis, Fox called his wife to the stage.
He exclaimed that he couldn’t believe he had been standing there for so long!
They shared a kiss before going back to their seats.
You can watch his full speech here.
During his acceptance speech, Fox revealed he entered “seven years of denial” following his shock diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease in 1991.
He spoke about how he went from a high school dropout in Canada to an award-winning actor and even joked to the audience that their standing ovation was “making him shake.”
“I did leave high school in the 11th grade, sold my guitar and moved to L.A. […] I told my history teacher of my plan and he said ‘Fox, you’re not gonna be cute forever.’ I had no idea how to respond to that, so I said, ‘Maybe just long enough, sir. Maybe just long enough.’ It turns out we were both right,” he recalled.
Fox also spoke about his early days as an actor.
“During my first days then months then years in the American film and television industry, I booked some jobs, ducked some landlords, dove in a few dumpsters and eventually I found myself unbelievably on a TV series called Family Ties. I was on top of the world. I had a hit television show, two movies in the can and it was all good in the neighborhood,” he added.
He also said his diagnosis at 29 was “s****y.”
“Then I entered into seven years of denial, trying to make sense of it all.
“The kid who left Canada, convinced that he would make anything happen just by working hard and by believing, now had a tall order in front of him. I told very few people. And they kept my secret,” Fox concluded.
Since then, a sneak peak of his Apple TV+ documentary titled Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie has been released.
And in it, Fox opens up even more about his diagnosis.