At the beginning of this year, the much-anticipated nonfiction film featuring the life of beloved actor Michael J. Fox premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City. The film, produced by Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, retells the story of the actor who rose to stardom in the 80s by landing roles in iconic movies such as Back to the Future, and series such as Family Ties.
The film had a special showing at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and Michael was there accompanied by wife Tracy Pollen. During the Q&A, he opened up about his life with Parkinson’s disease, which he was diagnosed with at the age of just 29. It was short after he and Tracy got married and had their first child. Tracy never left her husband’s side and is his biggest support. The two are doing their best to cope with Michael’s condition and are working hard on raising funds for finding cure for Parkinson’s disease. He disclosed his condition with the public in 1998 and semi-retired from acting two years later as his health worsened. It took young Michael a lot of time to accept the reality, but he finally decided to make the best out of his life despite the struggles the disease forced him to face.
“Parkinson’s sucks, but it’s a great life, so thank you for it,” the actor said. “Pity is a benign form of abuse. I can feel sorry for myself, but I don’t have time for that. There is stuff to be learned from this, so let’s do that and move on,” he contined.
“My fans have basically given me my life. I wanted to give these people who have done so much for me my time and gratitude. It was great for me to hear from all of you.”
In the past, the Spin City star spoke of the decision to continue making movies following the diagnosis and said, “I have no regrets. You do what you have to do, but you do not want to kill yourself. And that’s when I stopped.”
Along with his wife, Michael established the Michael J. Fox Foundation whose goal is finding cure for Parkinson’s disease through funded research. The organization is currently the largest non-profit founder of Parkinson’s disease research in the world. His dedication to helping patients with the disease he suffers from himself placed him on the 2007 Time Magazine’s list of 100 people “whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.”
Although he continued acting after the diagnosis, his work was mainly focused on lending his voice in films like Stuart Little and Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
The actor has written four books, Lucky Man: A Memoir (2002), Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (2010) and his fourth, No Time Like the Future, released on November 17, 2021.