|Michael J. Fox Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 4¼ in|
|Date of Birth||June 9, 1961|
Michael J. Fox is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, author, and film producer along with being a socialist and an activist. He started his career at an early age of 14 where he portrayed the role of a 10-year-old boy in Leo and Me (1978). Since then, he has acted in over 37 movies and more than 35 TV series along with producing and directing few movies. His acting has earned him many nominations and has awarded him with multiple Primetime Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the most prestigious Grammy Award.
Given the nature of his father’s job, Michael traveled to different cities of Canada, finally settling in Burnaby, a large suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia after his father’s retirement. Though he did move to Los Angeles pertaining to his movie career at the age of 18, however later, after his marriage, he moved back to Vancouver. It was while auditioning in Vancouver, for Leo and Me (1978), that he discovered his love and desire for acting which later turned into his passion.
Michael has done many movies and acted in a number of TV series. He has lent his voice in movies such as Stuart Little and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He rose to fame with the movie Back To The Future franchise, where he played the character of Marty McFly. This earned him his fan’s love and recognition. The first movie of the franchise was released in 1985 with the sequels getting released in the later years. They stated that Marty was synonymous with Michael J. Fox and that they cannot imagine any sequel without him and thus, they ensured that they have all the final rights of the franchise so that nobody else can attempt to make a remake film. Such was his aura and effect!
Fox received a setback in 1992 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He was just 31 at that time. He made his disease public 6 years later, i.e in 1998 and decided to partly retire from the movies in 2000 since his condition was worsening. Though this disease came at an early age, Michael did not give up and rather decided to fight his condition. He went on to research work, in the zest of finding a cure for this disease, and founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation, for which, Sweden’s Karolinska Institute gave him an honoris causa doctorate on March 5, 2010. He also decided to share his experience with people and his fans and thus wrote the 3 books on his memories related to Parkinson’s disease and other things, he had to deal with in his life. They were –
Lucky Man: A Memoir (2002)
Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009) and
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (2010)
Fox never allowed his disease to take over him, it rather made him stronger and determined to speed up his research on the disease. He is highly optimistic which can be sensed in how he responds to people’s questions [on being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease]. This is what he has to say on his disease “If 2 + 2 = 4 every time, what good is it? That’s no fun.”
Fox had a positive approach towards life, once when he shared his thought he would drop out of high school to pursue an acting career. His teacher told him, “Fox, you’re not going to be cute forever”, to which Fox responded, “Maybe just long enough, sir”. When he retold the story on David Letterman’s show in 2011, Fox added, “It turns out we were both right”.
Michael Andrew Fox
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
- Manhattan, New York, United States
- He has also lived near the Nantucket Bay area of the Eastern United States since he had both the countries’ (America & Canada) passport.
- He has spent some of his years in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
He has attended Burnaby Central Secondary School and later Burnaby South Secondary School.
He also received an honorary degree (Doctor of Laws) from the University of British Columbia on May 22, 2008.
Actor, comedian, voice-over artist, author, producer & director
- Father – William Fox (Police Officer)
- Mother – Phyllis (née Piper) (Actress /Payroll Clerk) (Died in 2022)
- Siblings – Kelli Fox (Younger Sister) (Stage & Television Actress), Karen Fox (Sister), Jacki Fox (Sister), Steven Fox (Brother)
- Others – Michael Pollan (Brother-in-law) (Producer), Gary David Goldberg (Acting Mentor)
Michael is represented by United Talent Agency.
5 ft 4¼ in or 163 cm
66 kg or 145.5 pounds
Girlfriend / Spouse
Michael has dated –
- Rebecca De Mornay
- Karla Michelle (1976-1982)
- Nancy McKeon (1982-1985) – For about 3 years, High School U.S.A. co-stars Nancy McKeon and Michael were an item.
- Sarah Jessica Parker (1984) – In 1984, Michael was romantically linked with American actress, Sarah Jessica Parker for a couple of months.
- Kari Michaelsen (1985-1986)
- Jennifer Grey (1986)
- Susanna Hoffs (1986)
- Tracy Pollan (1986-Present) – While working in the sitcom Family Ties, Michael met actress Tracy Pollan. She played his girlfriend on the show. Later, they both appeared together on the drama film Bright Lights, Big City in 1988. On July 16, 1988, the couple got married at West Mountain Inn in Arlington, Vermont. The couple has 4 children – son Sam Michael (b. May 30, 1989), twin daughters Aquinnah Kathleen and Schuyler Frances (b. February 15, 1995), and daughter Esmé Annabelle (b. November 3, 2001). In 2008, Fox and Tracy bought a 6-bedroom house in Quogue, New York for which they paid $6,300,000.
Race / Ethnicity
He is of Irish, English, and Scottish descent.
- Has a distinctive youthful voice
- Short stature
Nothing specific has been said about the shoe size Michael wore, however, Nike Inc. made a shoe, Nike Mag (limited edition), donned by the character Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) in the movie Back To The Future Part 2. The shoe was specifically designed for this movie to meet the requirement of the character, a lot of research and creativity went into the making of the shoe by Tinker Hatfield. The shoes were made in different sizes because of different shoe sizes of Michael and the stunt doubles.
No shoe has ever gathered such popularity or stardom as this one. The Nike Mag worn by Michael was put on sale and all the money received was diverted to Michael J. Fox Foundation for conducting research on Parkinson’s Disease. Around $6.75 million was raised with the help of Nike via two auctions, one in Hong Kong and the other in London.
Indirectly, he has endorsed Nike Mags.
He has campaigned for the nonprofitable purpose of promoting research on stem cells, thus advocating for the American politician Claire McCaskill (United States Senator; 2009 to 2019).
Best Known For
- His role as Marty McFly in the movie Back to the Future franchise (1985, 1989 & 1990)
- Playing Alex P. Keaton on the sitcom Family Ties (1982–1989)
- Playing the role as Mike Flaherty on the ABC sitcom Spin City (1996–2000, 2001)
- Setting up the “Michael J. Fox Foundation”, a research institute to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease
In 1980, Michael made his theatrical film debut with the comedy film Midnight Madness where he played the role as Scott Larson.
First TV Show
In 1973, Michael made his debut TV show appearance on the adventure comedy series The Beachcombers.
Not much is known about his workout and diet, but, Michael J. Fox strongly believes that exercise has therapeutic benefits for people with PD.
His food habit is categorized as flexitarian, mostly plant, but at times, he indulges in non-vegetarian dishes.
Michael J. Fox Favorite Things
- Color – Blue
- Movie – Back to the Future (1985)
Michael J. Fox Facts
- In his teenage years, he had appeared on stage in “The Shadow Box” wherefrom he realized he wanted to make his career in acting.
- He was born Canadian but also acquired American citizenship in 2000.
- He owned a black Ferrari Mondial coupe in 1987.
- He is good friends with Cam Neely, a professional hockey player for the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins.
- While registering with the “Screen Actors’ Guild”, he found out that there was already another Michael A. Fox in the Guild, so to avoid credit ambiguities, he changed his middle initial to a “J”. He chose “J” in honor of actor Michael J. Pollard.
- He lost the role of Conrad in Ordinary People (1980) to Timothy Hutton. Timothy went on to win the Best Supporting Actor award in Oscar’s.
- Fox negotiated for the role of Alex P. Keaton of Family Ties at a payphone of a local restaurant named “Pioneer Chicken”.
- Until 2016, he was nominated 18 times for Emmy Awards, winning 5 times, out of which three were for Family Ties in 1986, 1987, and 1988.
- He also won a Golden Globe Award in 1989.
- Fox earned the admiration of the teens and became a teen idol due to his roles in Family Ties and his act in Teen Wolf & Back to the Future. The VH1 television series The Greatest later included him among their “50 Greatest Teen Idols” list.
- Matthew Broderick was initially chosen to play Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties. But, for personal reasons, he opted out of that role which later went to Michael J. Fox.
- Fox was a great fan of James Cagney and was offered to play James in his biopic around 1982. However, it did not materialize.
- His name is included among “12 Promising New Actors of 1985” in John Willis’ Screen World, Vol. 37.
- Sandeep Marwah, President AAFT once invited Michael to pay a visit to the “Asian Academy of Film and Television“ in film city Noida, India to speak with film and acting students.
- While all good things were happening to him, he was also struggling with a severe kind of disease, Parkinson’s Disease. He was diagnosed with it in 1991-1992, after which he started drinking heavily. But later, he sought help and stopped drinking altogether and decided to disclose it to the media and his fans.
- He testified before a US Senate subcommittee on funding for Parkinson’s disease research, which was in the year 1999 on September 28.
- Joan Jett and Fox performed on-stage at A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson’s to collect the funds for The Michael J. Fox Foundation in New York City in November 2018.
- He had also seen hard times when he had to sell off his belongings to buy groceries and pay his rent.
- Due to his Parkinson’s disease, he could not do justice to his acting, thus decided to partially retire from his acting career.
- He launched a foundation named after his own name “Michael J. Fox Foundation” on May 23, 2000. It was established with the purpose of finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease through research.
- He was a supporter of then-candidate Barack Obama who was running his electoral campaign in 2008. Fox went on to vote for him wearing a t-shirt reading – ‘Barack to the Future”.
- He admits that he was working illegally in the U.S. and was not returning to Canada for he might not be allowed to enter the U.S. again. He had to hire a lawyer to sort out the issue.
- In 2006, Fox starred in a campaign ad for then-State Auditor of Missouri, Claire McCaskill, which proved very helpful for her and she emerged a winner against incumbent Jim Talent. In the ad, he visibly showed the effects of his Parkinson’s disease.
- He has revealed in his book “Always Looking Up” (2009) that he and his family had also escaped death. They had flown from Paris back to New York on Monday, a day before the plane crash had happened which killed all passengers and the crew members on board. Initially, they were supposed to fly on Tuesday, the day when the crash happened. The news had broken him into tears.
- Eminem had him mentioned in the songs, “Cold Wind Blows” and “Won’t Back Down”.
- Fox has a theatre named after him at Burnaby South Secondary, where he had done his initial schooling from.
- In 2000, he was included in Canada’s Walk of Fame.
- On December 16, 2002, he got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- On March 5, 2010, Karolinska Institute honored him with a doctorate in medicine for his remarkable offerings related to Parkinson’s Disease research.
- He was honored with an honorary degree (Doctor of Fine Arts) from New York University in May 2008.
- He was also appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2010 for his remarkable work and achievements.
- In 2013, the Online Film & Television Association included Michael into the Actors OFTA Television Hall of Fame.
- Visit his official website @ www.michaeljfox.org. He ensures to provide all the possible information on Parkinson’s Disease here.
- After getting diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1998, he was having issues memorizing his acting lines in 2020 (after 22 years).
- His 4th memoir No Time Like the Future was released in November 2020.
Featured Image by Paul Hudson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0