He’s a father of four, an advocate for disease research, and was named “Hollywood’s Nicest Guy”. You might have heard him as Stuart Little, or seen him in “Back to the Future”, he’s one of Canada’s best actors of all time. Who is he, Michael J. Fox.
Michael J. Fox was born as Michael Andrew Fox on June 9th 1961 in Edmonton the capitol of Alberta. He lived with his parents, his brother, and three sisters. Michael’s father was in the Canadian forces, so his family had to move various times to different parts of Canada. His family finally settled down in Burnaby, British Columbia when he was ten. Like other kids Michael loved hockey and dreamed of being a pro, he also played guitar in several different high school rock and roll bands. He joined the drama club, to meet girls at first, and found his love for acting. Michael started as a professional actor at age 15 playing a 10 year old on the sitcom “Leo and Me”. Over the next three years he played in several theatre acts and did TV work, he also got a few small roles in American TV movies being shot in Canada. When Michael was just 18 he moved to Los Angeles California to pursue his acting career. He had a few small parts, until he landed the role of Alex P. Keaton on the hit series “Family ties” that lasted from 1982- 1989. In the 7 years of “Family ties” it earned 3 Emmys, and 1 Golden globe.
While he was busy filming his TV series during the days, he would shoot movies at night showcasing his great ability to shift between comedy and drama. In this time he appeared in over a dozen movies, such as the “Back to the Future trilogy”, “Teen Wolf”, and “Mars Attacks!”
In 1988 Michael married his “Family Ties” co-star, actress Tracy Pollan who happened to play his girlfriend. At age 29 Michael was diagnosed with a disease called Parkinson’s, but he did not tell anyone. Parkinson’s disease is a chronic degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system, some of the symptoms are tremors, and twitches, also slurring of words, and other speech problems.
In 1996, Michael returned to TV in “Spin City” where he played the role of New York’s deputy mayor. He won 3 golden globes, 1 Emmy, and GQ man of the year award in the comedy category. All the time trying to hide that he had Parkinson’s. Then in 1998 during the filming of “Spin City” Michael told the public that he had Parkinson’s, from then on he committed himself to supporting Parkinson’s research. In 2000, he retired from “Spin City” after 4 seasons and 100 episodes. Later that year he established the Michael J. Fox foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
To this day, the foundation has raised over 304 million for research, and is on its way to find a cure. He has received several humanitarian awards for his work and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2010. Despite his battles with Parkinson’s, Michael keeps an optimistic look on life. So far as I know, Fox, who was not born Jewish, has not converted to Judaism (although that is possible). He belongs to a Reform synagogue in Manhattan, which he attends with his Jewish wife, actress Tracy Pollan, 47, and their four children (They have an 18-year-old son, twin 12-year-old daughters, and another 6-year-old daughter).
At age 51 Michael still continues to act, is the author of three books and is still searching and hoping to find a cure for Parkinson’s within our lifetime.
As for similarities between Michael and I, well we both grew up in the Vancouver area, my mom actually went to school with Michael. I enjoy sports and play instruments, like Michael did. Obviously I don’t suffer from Parkinson’s, but I do still try to keep and optimistic look on life all the time. Which is also one of my goals for this project is to find ways to stay optimistic in my everyday life. Also I’d really like to improve on my public speaking skills, as well as improve my confidence. As well I want to learn about helping better the world. I’ve always been interested in making a difference, big or small, in the world, Michael did this with his foundation.