—Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox is an endearing character whom audiences have come to know through film and TV roles over the past three decades. He is charming, funny, ever-youthful and always surprising.
Michael Andrew Fox was born in Canada on June 9, 1961. After his acting talents emerged in his teens, at age 18 he moved to Los Angeles. When he went to register with the Screen Actors Guild, he realized another actor had registered under the same name. In homage to one of his favorite character actors of all time, Michael J. Pollard, Fox adopted the letter “J” as his new middle initial.
Soon, Fox skyrocketed to fame in a career-making role—that of Alex P. Keaton on television’s “Family Ties” (1982-1989)—where he also met and married actress Tracy Pollan in 1988. From “Family Ties” Fox went on to star in several notable films, including the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “The American President” and “Doc Hollywood,” and for six years starred in the TV series “Spin City.”
As Fox’s legions of fans know, he lives life — no matter the challenge or opportunity. In fact, his real-life role may be the most inspiring part he has ever played. In 1998, Michael let the world know that he had Parkinson’s disease. Showing the same commitment, drive and imagination audiences had come to love in his years onscreen, he quickly emerged as a leading advocate and spokesperson to increase awareness of Parkinson’s disease and funding for critically needed research toward a cure. The eponymous foundation he established in 2000 is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease by strategically prioritizing and aggressively funding Parkinson’s research. Now a father of four, Fox also has become known as an author, penning two best-selling memoirs of his life before and after Parkinson’s.
With characteristic optimism, Fox describes his Parkinson’s diagnosis in terms of what it has added to, not taken away from, his remarkable life. “I once said to somebody that in a way it was a gift… it really taught me acceptance,” Fox said. “It taught me a lot about taking life on life’s terms. And it opened up a way for me to be of service that I hadn’t imagined before.”
In 2013, NBC announced that Fox will combine his two passions, acting and activism, in a new TV series, “The Michael J. Fox Show,” where he portrays a man who is returning to his TV career despite having Parkinson’s disease. The show is bound to revolutionize the way millions of people see Parkinson’s disease and anyone struggling against difficult odds.
With this move, as with so many others, Fox is an inspiration to millions of people worldwide. His humor and upbeat outlook are visible in everything he undertakes. That unfailingly positive attitude brings hope to everyone he touches—and reminds us all to seek out the joy in life, despite our challenges.
Optimism. Pass It On!
This billboard about Optimism features Michael J. Fox; actor, author, comedian, producer, activist.