Optimism (Michael J. Fox)
“I can get sad, I can get frustrated, I can get scared, but I never get depressed - because there's joy in my life.”

—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.

Pass It On®

  email   Print

Your Comments
Feeling Blessed from Minnesota USA AUGUST 15, 2019
I don’t know much about this disease , but I do know someone who lost their mother to it. Any disabling condition that basically rips away your abilities to do things without major struggle, whether progressive or not, can be very taxing on a person and sometimes result in depression, isolation, and loneliness. I’m a walking example of that. After reading this it really shed some light into my world and made me pause and think. Thank you Michael, you’re an inspiration for disabled individuals who need lifting up and a twist in their thinking pattern. This helped me. <3

Anonymous MAY 29, 2019
This disease is awful. Most people would give up & let the disease do it's thing. Michael is still working. Now that's strength & determination. What a wonderful attitude heh has.

Anonymous NOVEMBER 9, 2018
Who came here because of ''back to the future''?

Broox from Hawkins,IN JANUARY 9, 2018
Michael J. Fox has always been an inspiration to me. You inspire me to keep moving and dont stop trying. I also love his movies and is a great time traveller. Thank you Michael.

Angelo from TMS DECEMBER 16, 2016
I love ur work you inspire me so much thank you Michhael J. Fox

Emma Song NOVEMBER 29, 2016
Inspiring. Although no one I know has it, I can truly say this is great. Keep it up, Micheal J. Fox! Continue to change the future!


Jake M. from Warrington, pa DECEMBER 10, 2015
you are my idol my grandmother also suffer from Parkinson's and was not able to hide it like you anyway I love what you do so keep doing it

savannah SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
Michael J. Fox Knows what acceptance is rather than some people in this world!

Servando from denton SEPTEMBER 29, 2015
I love Michael j. Fox story it's amazing

Griffin SEPTEMBER 10, 2015
Micheal j fox is amazing!!

griffin SEPTEMBER 10, 2015
michael j fox an insperation to us all he is amazing in many ways

james SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

Angela from Adrian MAY 6, 2014
Back to the Future was my favorite movie as a kid. i was told at a young age that Fox had this, and i sat and cried. he is such a great guy. and even if he knows he is dieing, he still makes the best out of things. Thank You Michael. :)

Jenni from Cornhusker County MARCH 27, 2014
Michael, Your optimism encourages me. I have several invisible disease that cause pain, chronic fatigue, and other symptoms. I also have Major Depressive Disorder. I'll keep up the fight if you will. You are an inspiration to me and many, many other ill people.

Bryan from Biloxi, MS JANUARY 10, 2014
Michael, you are my hero!

Joshua Peterson from Mequon, WI JANUARY 8, 2013
Even before I saw these billboards, every now and then I would get up from my video games and say to myself "I gotta live my life while I have it" and then go out to run around town or play outside with my dog.

Karen b from Katy Texas MAY 11, 2012
I saw the Michael J. Fox billboard in the airport in Albuquerque. Michael and I are about the same age (I am 56). I was diagnosed with Parkinson's' Disease in 2004. My symptoms are gradually getting more noticeable, but for the most part, my meds can mask them. What I would like is a way of getting a constant supply of meds to prevent the uPs and downs, and especially when I've forgotten to take them. I want to live a full life. I want to enjoy retirement with my man, to travel, dance, and ride our tandem together into the sunset. Please continue to work for a cure so I can.

Jack from None of your bizz MARCH 22, 2012
I wish you all a happy life!

rachida from indiana MARCH 22, 2012
This person really inspries me alot. Because most teenagers or kids need to start apprectiating on things they do have. Michael's diease doesnt stop him from what he does, and that's what inspires me alot.

Sue d. from Urbana, Ohio DECEMBER 25, 2011
My brother has this disease and pretty much struggles everyday. I have days I feel sorry for myself, but when I vsit him every week, I realize I have no struggles compaired to his--wish we'd come up with a cure!!!

acquaye addotey from accra ghana DECEMBER 8, 2010
I always get too inspired anytime I open to your website. This reminds me of when I was working in a company that supplied and distributed power. As an account clerk I was humiliated because I exhibit honesty. Eventually I was sacked but I kept on reading your motivational quote. In nutshell I live up to the task to upgrade myself to a position of accountant. I always mentor Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill as my roll models. Keep it up good work.

Hope R from MS NOVEMBER 7, 2010
My grandfather had parkinson's. Because I was young when he got it, I don't remember him before it. Go Michael J Fox, stay optimistic! I will pray for you.

sabrina o. from green ohio SEPTEMBER 16, 2010
I love Michael J. Fox, especially in "Back to the Future."

LaDonna H. from Muncie, Indiana SEPTEMBER 14, 2010
Thanks Michael for being the person that you are. I saw you on "The View" years ago and your interview just assured me of all of the qualities that you have. I don't understand why bad things have to happen to good people, but knowing that the man upstairs has everything in control and that all things work together for good is reassuring.

Lisa F. from Factoryville, PA JULY 6, 2010
I love these billboards! Keep them coming! I teach character education, and I refer to the billboards a lot. This billboard inspired me to read Mr. Fox's second book - it was great! Very uplifting.

Shannon J. from Gastonia, NC JUNE 19, 2010
My dad has Parkinson's and has had it for 8 years. I am 13 now. It has been a high "bump in the road to cross" but we are crossing it and all with a positive attitude. Michael has added encouragement!

Ileen D. from Salt Lake City, Utah MAY 21, 2010
MJF-consider nourishing your central nervous system with foods that support regeneration. My nerve regeneration took 3 and a half years, just maybe you can outfox Parkinson's yet.

Kim D from Charleston,SC MAY 7, 2010
I was driving home from work and this billboard caught my attention(even at 70 miles an hour on the highway)! My mother died of Parkinson's in 2000.I really admire Michael for his positive energy and pray for a cure very soon! I highly recommend reading his three books!!!

Terri P. from California MAY 1, 2010
Saw this billboard on the way home from Palm Springs!! It totally stood out!! My mom has Parkinson's Disease and to see this was very encouraging!! It totally touched MY heart!

Maribel S from San Antonio, TX APRIL 13, 2010
I was driving down the road and saw the billboad. OPTIMISM...I thought that is perfect...that's what it takes to live with Parkinson's. My mother has Parkinson's...her Dad had it really bad. I wonder if my brother or I will get it someday. Optimism...that's what it takes! I am eternally greatful to Michaal of all his work to find a cure. I AM optimistic!

Nancy M. from Kansas APRIL 2, 2010
Michal J. Fox is wonderful. He reminds me of my youngest son, Jody. All full of laughter in the face of very difficult situations. I pray for Michaels well being. The billboard is a wonderful reminder of how much is being done and how much more needs to be done.

Nancy M. from Kansas APRIL 2, 2010
This is a wonderful site. I wish there were more like it. It gives me inspiriration to see so many wonderful people and thier efforts to make this world a better place to live. Thank you, kind regards, Nancy

Tina L. from South Dakota MARCH 28, 2010
I just seen some of your ads on TV last night. Thank you for reminding the people of this world all the good they have to offer. May God bless your efforts.

Amy H. from Chico, California FEBRUARY 10, 2010
My bf told me about a billboard that just went up of Michael J. Fox in my hometown (Chico, CA). As a person with Parkinson's Disease (diagnosed 8 years now, I am 36) it brings tears of joy to my eyes to read the headline and see the billboard as I pass by. Michael J. Fox is a hero and inspiration to me. He gives me hope. I am not as strong as he seems to be, but with him as a role model I strive to be a better woman. Thanks Michael and Muhammad Ali for your strength and fighting for a cure. I love you guys!!!

Tracie C. from Anaheim, California NOVEMBER 18, 2009
We all complain about our lives, some have more troubles and pain than others. When we watch a public figure like the amazing Michael J. Fox go through the stages of his disease with such grace, it comforts me to know that all painful things in my life will pass. I pray we find a cure for Parkinson's Disease. We love you Mike.

Roger U. from GAFFNEY SC. NOVEMBER 11, 2009
I was diagnosed with early stage Parkinson's last November. My family wanted me to start walking with a cane and generally felt I should begin living my life as an invalid. I decided to live my life as I have all 73 years. I have stayed busy at all the things I have been doing and plan to continue living my life as it there is nothing wrong with my health. I have received much support from Michaels attitude and with Muhammad’ Ali's approach to life with Parkinson’s. Both of these gentlemen have become my heroes and inspiration. Thank you to each of you, Michael and Muhammad Ali.

Kelsey H. from Omaha, NE OCTOBER 11, 2009
My grandpa died five years ago today from Parkinson's. It's a terrible disease. He was an amazing man.

Jerilynn B from Sheboygan, WI SEPTEMBER 18, 2009
The Billboard caught my attention. Like Michael J Fox I have Parkinson's. I try to live every day with the attitude, Why not me! God bless you Michael for working so hard to find a cure!

Bill B. from USA SEPTEMBER 9, 2009
Hey good stuff...keep up the good work! :)

Jim S. from Long Island, NY AUGUST 3, 2009
This is a really great billboard. What courage Michael must have to find a cure for Parkinson's.

Rachel P. from Denver AUGUST 3, 2009
I love this billboard!!!!

Carl M. from Pretoria, South Africa JULY 29, 2009
The moment you acknowledge your sickness, the healing starts. It is my prayer that he will continue be a blessing to all of us.

MaryAnn N. from Norway JULY 29, 2009
Listening to Fox read his own "Always Looking Up" was inspiring; it helped to change my own attitude and set my own challenges in perspective.

Mary Ann B. from Vermont JULY 28, 2009
My father had Parkinson's and through that I came to know many people challenged by the disease. All had great courage. Michael's work has done so much to help raise awareness and push for funding for research. I am so grateful to him.

Tammy R. from Clarksburg,WV JULY 28, 2009
When I saw this billboard tears came to my eyes.My dad is suffering from Parkinson's and is still full of OPTIMISM!!! Praying for a cure.

Sierra R. from Philadelphia JULY 18, 2009
Saw this while driving the other day and had to pull over and take a picture. I love Michael J. Fox.

Amy C. from Henderson, KY JUNE 21, 2009
I think it's great that he is so open about this. My cousin passed away yesterday and had Parkinson's. I hope they find a cure someday.

Cathy T. from Houston JUNE 12, 2009
I am grateful for people who openly share their challenges. Their openness becomes our strength.

Here are some other billboards you might like.