The actor was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease back in 1991 when he was just 29 years old, but didn’t talk about it openly until 1998.
Who doesn’t remember the goofy and charismatic Marty McFly from the blockbuster Back to the Future series? Actor Michael J. Fox portrayed McFly with such raw energy that we’re sure nobody could have done a better job. However, the 59-year-old actor is ready to bid goodbye to Hollywood after being a part of it for more than 40 years.
In his new book, No Time Like the Future, the actor revealed that he’s looking forward to a “second retirement.” Referring to his declining health, he wrote, “The nascent diminishment in my ability to download words and repeat them verbatim is just the latest ripple in the pond,” reported Celebrity9.
Noting the reasons for his “lapses in memorization,” he continued, “…be the age, cognitive issues with the disease, distraction from the constant sensations of Parkinson’s, or lack of sensation because of the spine — but I read it as a message, an indicator.”
“There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me,” penned the Family Ties TV star, elaborating his struggles and added, “At least for now.”
He further wrote, “In fairness to myself and to producers, directors, editors, and poor beleaguered script supervisors, not to mention actors who enjoy a little pace, I enter a second retirement. That could change, because everything changes. But if this is the end of my acting career, so be it.”
The Stuart Little actor had recently opened up about his battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Fox was diagnosed with the disease in 1991 when he was just 29 years old. He told People back in 1998 that it was on the sets of the romantic comedy Doc Hollywood (1991) when he noticed the “twitch” in his left pinkie.
Initially, a neurologist “said I probably did something to my funny bone,” Fox recalled, but within six months, his left hand, and his shoulder were affected by the tremors as well. After undergoing a surgery called thalamotomy, Fox was relieved from the extreme tremors he used to have.
In another interview with the People, the actor revealed that right when he thought his life was getting better, he had to undergo another surgery for a noncancerous tumor on his spine in 2018, following which he had to learn to walk again.
Fox found his optimism, which had helped him get through life for so long when he was at his lowest. It was in 2019 when the actor suffered a bad fall during the filming of a cameo for the movie See You Yesterday. Describing it as his “darkest moment,” he said, “Parkinson’s, my back, my arm … it still didn’t add up to moving the needle on the misery index compared to what some people go through.”
But soon, he found the key to his missing optimism. He told the outlet, “Optimism is really rooted in gratitude.” Explaining that positive thoughts are “sustainable” only when “you keep coming back to gratitude,” he continued, “Accepting that this thing has happened, and you accept it for what it is. It doesn’t mean that you can’t endeavor to change.”
“It doesn’t mean you have to accept it as a punishment or a penance, but just put it in its proper place. Then see how much the rest of your life you have to thrive in, and then you can move on,” he added.
The actor, who will be turning 60 next year, admitted that he’s been struggling with almost everything he was once great at. The People reported him saying, “My guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no good anymore, my dancing never was good, and acting is getting tougher to do.” So, he’s now found something he loves doing which helps him fight his battle. “So it’s down to writing,” he revealed and added, “Luckily, I really enjoy it.”
Fox also shed light on his struggle with sobriety along with his relationship with family and friends. Married for 32 years, Fox and his wife Tracy Pollan have four children – Sam, 31, twin daughters Aquinnah and Schuyler, 25, and daughter Esmé, 19.
Talking about his wife, the actor says, “She’s not always a rock, but that’s okay. Rocks are solid, stubborn, and immovable. That’s me. Tracy, on the other hand, has learned to keep the rock rolling,” reported New York Post.
Since the day of his Parkinson’s diagnosis, the actor has been optimistic about finding a cure for the disease. According to Biography, when Fox left the show Spin City in 2000, following his health struggle, he opened the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research by the end of the same year and raised more than $900 million for the research to find a cure for Parkinson’s.