Tags: Hollywood | parkinsons | michael j fox

Michael J. Fox on Parkinson's Battle: 'I Was Supposed to Be Disabled by Now'

michael j fox
Michael J. Fox (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

By    |   Friday, 13 December 2019 01:39 PM

When doctors diagnosed Michael J. Fox with Parkinson's disease nearly 30 years ago, they believed he would be disabled in a few years, but the actor refused to accept that.

He fought the odds stacked against him and has managed to lead a relatively normal life despite some somber predictions. Fox opened up about life after his diagnosis with Closer Weekly in an interview that appears in the magazine's latest issue.

"I was only supposed to work for another 10 years," he said. "I was supposed to be pretty much disabled by now. I'm far from it."

Fox was officially diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1992 but only chose to go public with the news six years later. He retired from "Spin City" in January 2000, but in 2013 he returned to primetime network TV as Mike Henry on NBC's "The Michael J. Fox Show," according to his official biography.

He has since made several TV guest appearances and earned himself various awards, including the 2011 Hoerzu Magazine Golden Camera Award and the 2010 National Association of Broadcasters Distinguished Service Award.

Fox is in a good place, and it shows.

"I feel great!" he told Closer Weekly. Being married to Tracy Pollan for 31 years has certainly helped. "She puts up with me," Fox said. "Her big challenge is not having a Parkinson's patient for a husband. It's having me for a husband."

The couple shares four kids together — Sam, 30, Esmé, 18, and twins Aquinnah and Schuyler, both 24 — and they have also helped Fox find the strength to fight his disease.

"If I were to use one word to describe my kids, it's kind. They are really kind people," he previously told Variety. "They take it in, it's just natural. It just is what it is. I don't know how we got so lucky that they turned out that way, but they apply that to everything they do."

Fox said his kids taught him that there's "bigger stuff going on than just yourself."

Knowing this, he went on to establish the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research to raise money for research of the disease. His efforts have proved successful, with the organization going on to become one of the largest nonprofit contributors to Parkinson's disease research.

Speaking about the decision to start the foundation, Fox told Variety that a switch flipped in his brain and set the wheels in motion. He went from believing his life was over to thinking that he could not just live with the disease but could also use the platform he had been given through acting to speak out and spread awareness.

"Whether it's bidden or unbidden, it's there and it's powerful," he said.

To date, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has invested over $650 million in research and recently pledged $7.7 million to fund over 39 projects in 12 countries.

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When doctors diagnosed Michael J. Fox with Parkinson's disease nearly 30 years ago, they believed he would be disabled in a few years, but the actor refused to accept that.
parkinsons, michael j fox
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2019-39-13
Friday, 13 December 2019 01:39 PM
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