Michael J. Fox
(June 9, 1961-) is a Canadian
actor, author, voice over artist
, and woobie
with a face that seems born to make us laugh.
He started off as a Teen Idol
in The Eighties
, making a dual hit on both film and television as Marty McFly from the Back to the Future
trilogy (1985-1990) and Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties
(1982-1989), for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. A rather popular but generally less famous role was the main character in Teen Wolf
. He also did some serious stuff
that almost no one remembers, and he's acknowledged that he isn't an actor who can "blend" into a wide variety of roles.
In The Nineties
, he played Mike Flaherty on Spin City
(1996-2000), for which he won an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. He was also Jon Stewart's first guest as host of The Daily Show
Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, and disclosed his condition to the public in 1998. Fox semi-retired from acting in 2000 as the symptoms of his disease worsened. He has since become an advocate for research towards finding a cure.
Despite his "retirement" he has guest starred on various television shows and also some voice acting work, most notably Stuart Little
and Atlantis The Lost Empire
, where his distinctive child-like voice adds to the generally benign nature of his characters. Some of his guest spots have him pigeon-holed as a man with an illness
, when he guested on Boston Legal
he had lung cancer, when he guested on Scrubs
he had OCD and when he guested on The Good Wife
he had a neurological disorder.
He also appeared as himself in his prime time special Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (A Personal Journey of Hope)
in May 2009. He made a surprise appearance at the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics, where he declared everyone attending to be honorary Canadians
- which he then claims means that Canada won every gold medal of the games
! On May 4, 2010, he (for lack of a better word) trolled Stephen Colbert
on his own show
. In 2011, he also trolled Larry David
on his show
He made his return to TV with the sitcom The Michael J Fox Show
, which ran from October 2013 to January 2014.
Tropes Associated with Michael J. Fox
- And I Must Scream: Fox describes this as what would happen if he was in a position where he couldn't take his pills.
- Breakout Character: Alex P. Keaton was meant to contrast his parents, but effectively became the star of the show.
- Canada, Eh?
- Dawson Casting: He was 23 playing 17 year old Marty McFly, and due to his short stature and youthful face has almost never played a character the same age. In Spin City Michael Flaherty was established as just turning 30 just as Fox was approaching 40.
- Determinator: He did the first Back to the Future film while simultaneously working full-time on Family Ties, effectively carrying the show himself, since his Family Ties costar Meredith Baxter was out because she was pregnant, getting at most a few hours of sleep on most days. And then there's his battle with Parkinson's disease, originally told he'd have less than 10 years before the disease would overtake him, but more than 20 years later, is still working.
- Fake American: Many people are very surprised to learn he is Canadian born (though he holds dual US citizenship).
- Fatal Method Acting: Almost fell victim to this in Back to the Future: Part III. While shooting the hanging scene, his hand slipped and he got hanged for real, until a crewmember noticed he wasn't breathing and resuscitated him.
- Keet: He's always been quite energetic and he confessed that in more recent productions his energy is to hide the signs of Parkinson's.
- Military Brat: In Real Life; he's the son of a Canadian Forces member who moved around Canada until he was 10, when his father retired and settled the family in the Vancouver area.
- Older Than He Looks: For many years, due to his short stature and youthful face. However, the effects of his condition have been pushing him up recently. Even still, he doesn't look like he is fifty.
- Old Shame: He really hated working on Teen Wolf and refused to come back for the sequel.
- He regrets dropping out of high school in order to pursue his career as an actor as "a stupid youthful mistake", that he has since mandated that his children should at least finish high school and maybe one year of college themselves.
- On a recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Fox admits he doesn't like most of the films he made after his Parkinson's diagnosis, because during that time his thinking was, "I'd better do as many movies as I can before I can no longer act", and started accepting roles for movies that, in the end, weren't very good.
- One Steve Limit: There was already a Michael Fox in the Screen Actor's Guild when Michael J. Fox was just starting out, so he used the middle initial "J" in homage to actor Michael J. Pollard. For the record, his middle name is actually Andrew, but he wanted to avoid headlines like "Michael, A Fox!" or "Michael 'Eh?' Fox". Now he's taken over as videos of the other Michael Fox are impossible to find.
- Teens Are Short: He's around 5'4", which allowed him to play teenage characters into his late twenties. The producers of Family Ties actually thought he was too short to be the son of 6'4" Michael Gross.