Michael J. Fox Talks Beating Odds With Parkinson’s Disease

Michael J Fox / IG

Michael J. Fox was once one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars. However, after his breakout on the TV show Family Ties and the Back to the Future trilogy, his career ground to a halt. While starring in Spin City as the lead, he revealed to the world he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Doctors told him he had about 10 years left of being functional.

Over 25 years later, Michael J. Fox is talking about beating the odds.

Michael J. Fox Defied Odds After Parkinson’s Diagnosis

Michael J. Fox was only 30 when doctors delivered the news he had Parkinson’s Disease. The diagnosis came in 1991, the year after he concluded the Back to the Future trilogy. He still had a few starring roles coming after that. including Doc Hollywood (1991) and The Frighteners (1996). He also had the starring role in Spin City, which he started in 1996.

Michael J. Fox Instagram

However, Fox had to step away from the TV series in 2001 when his Parkinson’s Disease made it impossible for him to continue on the lead on a TV show. This was 10 years after his initial diagnosis. In a new interview, Fox said that doctors told him he only had 10 years of functionality left in his life, and that lined up with him leaving the show. However, Fox refused to give up.

Fox, 62, said, “You don’t have to follow other people’s prognostications for what life is going to be. Life’s going to be what you make it” (via PEOPLE). This interview also comes 25 years after he used the same publication to reveal his diagnosis to the world.

Fox said he didn’t want to let the news out about Parkinson’s, but he knew he couldn’t hide it much longer. He said the response was supportive and it helped him reach a payoff for everything he had done. “I’m proud that I had the courage to talk about this, and to be out there with it,” he said.

Since his diagnosis, he isn’t the same Fox that fans watched on Back to the Future, but he still has that twinkle in his eye and he won’t stop working.

Michael J. Fox Leading The Fight Against Parkinson’s Disease

Michael J. Fox kept acting when he could. He voiced Stuart Little in three movies, took on a cameo role in the 2019 movie See You Yesterday, and appeared in TV shows like Designated Survivor, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Good Fight. He also had a documentary about his life on Apple TV+ called Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie.

However, more importantly, Fox started The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000. His foundation raised two billion dollars to find a cure. This resulted in a huge advancement in 2023 when they discovered a biomarker to determine if a person has Parkinson’s before the symptoms start.

“It was one of the few times I cried about what we were doing,” Fox said. “We wanted to find a way that we can diagnose the disease before the symptoms are there. Because then we could treat it, and you’d never have it. It was a big break — and a great moment.”

What are your best memories of Michael J. Fox? How cool is it that his foundation has helped possibly find a way to help other Parkinson’s patients live longer lives? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Shawn Lealos
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