Michael J Fox has opened up about his experience with Parkinson’s disease in his new book.
The actor remains beloved for his roles in Family Ties, Back to the Future and Spin City, but his opportunities were limited after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at just 29.
After stepping away from Hollywood in the late nineties, Fox has become an author – with his fourth book, No Time Like the Future, exploring his diagnosis in detail.
He told Mike Hosking that writing is one of the few creative outlets left open to him.
“I was an actor, I was a musician, I was a sketch artist, and those things aren’t available to me now. I don’t have the same facility. ”
Fox says that the diagnosis was a “real shock” when he received the prognosis in 1991.
“I had been feeling some symptoms – a twitch in my pinky, a soreness in my shoulder – I saw this neurologist and did some drunk driving test, and I couldn’t do any of that, so he pronounced me as having Parkinson’s disease.”
That doctor gave Fox just 10 years left to work – but while he has stepped away from leading roles, Fox continues to do voice acting and has been a regular guest star on numerous TV shows, including The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Fox says he tried to keep acting, but first had to relearn the “mechanics of walking” after having a tumour removed from his spine.
An offer came up for a cameo in a Spike Lee movie while he was recuperating, and Fox assured his family that he would be fine to do the performance.
“I woke up the next morning, walked into the kitchen, and fell and shattered my arm. I had a plate and 19 pins to restore my humerus bone – and as they say, I broke my humerus is no joke.”
Despite the struggles, Fox says that he has remained optimistic, as his problems are quite low on the misery index compared to many others.
As part of his perseverance, Fox launched The Michael J Fox Foundation, researching to find a cure. After 20 years, Fox says that they are making great progress and are working with organisations to find a similar cure.
“We’re making great progress and we’re opening it up to new areas of research people had never had before, and that was my goal.”
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