This year I was fortunate enough to interview Norm Kerfoot, a high school friend of my moms, and a long time friend of my eminent person Michael j Fox, The interview went great, and I got a ton of awesome information from Norm, which is listed below. Also Norm actually got in contact with Michael j Fox and told him about my study. Michael was happy to answer a few questions via email, so Norm forwarded a message from me to Michael (so cool!). Hopefully Michael, who is busy with his foundation, can find the time to answer my questions, which would probably be the best thing that could happen!
How did you and Michael first meet?
How did we first meet, we first met in junior high school I guess I was in grade 9, putting Mike in grade 8, and we met through that we had kind of rival bands, I was in one band, he was in another so we met that way and became kind of competitive and then after a while out bands split up and we started hanging out together so we sort of started playing with each other for a while.
What was your first impression of Michael?
My first impression of Mike, hmm well that’s interesting. That he didn’t belong in junior high school he looked about 12. Mike was a good guy he was you know really nice he was energetic outgoing you know I never ever had any issues with him. Just we hung out in different groups when we first met. But you know, he was always a really good guy.
How did your relationship with Michael develop over the years?
Just by hanging out I guess and spending time together playing in the band hanging out with friends we had a lot of stuff in common, yeah you know some stuff I’m sure we can’t talk about.
How would you describe your relationship with Michael now? (How often do you speak?)
We speak a couple times throughout the year. I see him every year always at his Michael J Fox golf tournament which is to raise money basically for Burnaby South and the Michael J Fox theatre and the acting programs and stuff like that so it’s a big fundraiser for that so I see him every year at that for sure. I’ll see him other times throughout the year if he, you know, if he’s available. When he’s here he’s pretty busy. But we do talk on the phone and you know emailing, text messaging. So we’re in good contact with each other
What is your favourite memory with Michael?
My favourite memory with Mike, wow, that’s an interesting question, I probably have to say some of the times that I spent down there, probably a few good memories of being down in California when he was in his back to the future and Family Ties days and he sort of owned the town back then so it was a lot of fun to hang other, and you know, everything was at your disposal, which was a totally different lifestyle from what we we’re used to. So it was pretty crazy for us to go down there and just be thrown into that lifestyle, with all the actors and stuff like that, we had lots of fun doing that for sure.
Did Michael change at all when he became famous?
I think at first he did, um when he first started getting big, I guess anyone would. When you go from the bottom to the top over night basically is what happened to him, and I’m sure there was a bit of an ego there, so he did change for a while but he certainly came back down to earth pretty quick to who you see today. And the guy you see on TV, that’s Mike there’s no acting there and he’s not putting on a show for anybody. That’s really him.
Was Michael always such an optimistic guy?
Well I guess he had to be, if he thought he was going to make a career in acting, he got chopped down a lot of times, he went through hell and back trying to get into the whole career down there, but he stuck with it and figured he was gunna make it. There were definitely times when he should have thrown in the towel and headed home, and I think he was pretty close to doing that when he finally signed up for “Family Ties.”
Would you say that Michael is a risk taker?
A risk taker, yeah absolutely and I think for the same reasons, to at, what were we 17 when he took off and headed down to California and left everything behind and took a chance. Luckily it all panned out for him, and I think that he’s been a risk taker with his whole Parkinson’s. Coming forward and bringing that to the forefront. I mean that’s a pretty powerful thing being able to do that.
When did you first find out Michael had Parkinson’s?
I found out the same way everybody else did. Yeah I mean the word was out within his really tight circle, but everybody had to be super tight lipped about it until he came out and told everybody. So when it went public that’s when I heard about it as well.
What are some of the biggest challenges Michael has faced?
The biggest challenges hmm, well I guess getting into the whole acting scene, giving up alcohol that was huge because it’s one thing to, witness that lifestyle let alone live it. It’s a difficult lifestyle to give up because everything is available for you and he just gave that up at one point realizing that that was taking over and that there were more important things in life. So that was a big challenge for him to overcome. Then obviously letting the world know that he had Parkinson’s was a big challenge, and then dealing with that. He’s gone through a lot of cycles with that that are definitely hard to deal with. I guess as happy and as optimistic as the guy is everyday must be a challenge, I mean because it’s tough. I see him and I see how it wears him out, it’s tiring, but he puts his head down and just goes, so he’s pretty inspiring in that way for sure.
Anything else you want to add about Michael?
Well is guess just the fact that living the life that he’s lived and being as famous as he is, he’s certainly been able to keep himself grounded. He may have gone through a few ups and downs when he was younger but who wouldn’t. But I think he’s a great family man, and a great friend, and just basically the guy that you see is Mike. There’s no fake about Michael j Fox.
Like I said, the interview was awesome, leaving me with awesome information. I would like to thank Norm very much for allowing me to interview him.