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Michael J. Fox (born June 9, 1961) is an Emmy Award-winning Canadian-American actor, author and voice-over artist. With a film and television career spanning from the 1970s to the present, Fox's roles have included Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy (1985–1990); Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties (1982–1989), for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award; and Mike Flaherty from Spin City (1996–2000), for which he won an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

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 toward finding a cure.

In recent years, he had guest-starred on various television shows, and appeared as himself in his Emmy-nominated prime-time special Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (A Personal Journey of Hope) in May 2009.

ContentsEdit

[hide]*1 Early life

  • 2 Acting career
    • 2.1 Family Ties
    • 2.2 Back to the Future trilogy
    • 2.3 Mid-career
    • 2.4 Spin City and later career
  • 3 Personal life
    • 3.1 Illness and advocacy
    • 3.2 2010 Winter Olympics
  • 4 Filmography
    • 4.1 Actor
    • 4.2 Producer
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

[edit] Early lifeEdit

Fox was born Michael Andrew Fox in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the son of Phyllis, an actress and payroll clerk, and William Fox, a police officer and member of the Canadian Forces.[1][2] Fox's family lived in various cities and towns across Canada because of his father's career.[2] The family finally settled in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, British Columbia, when his father retired in 1971.[3] Fox attended Burnaby Central Secondary School, and currently has a theatre named after him in Burnaby South Secondary.

Fox co-starred in the Canadian television series Leo and Me (at age fifteen), and in 1979, at eighteen, moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.[2] He was "discovered" by producer Ronald Shedlo and made his American television debut in the television movie Letters from Frank, credited under the name "Michael Fox". He intended to continue to use the name, but when he registered with the Screen Actors Guild, which does not allow duplicate registration names to avoid credit ambiguities, he discovered that Michael Fox, a veteran character actor, was already registered under the name.[2] As he explained in his autobiography, Lucky Man: A Memoir, and in interviews, he needed to come up with a different name. He did not like the sound of "Andrew" or "Andy" Fox. He decided against using his middle initial because he didn't want to fit into a Canadian stereotype, as in Michael "Eh?" Fox, and because he did not want teen fan magazines referring to him as "Michael, A Fox!" He decided to adopt a new middle initial and settled on "J", in reference to actor Michael J. Pollard.[3] Sometimes he jokes that the J stands for "Jenius" or "Jenuine".

[edit] Acting careerEdit

[edit] Family TiesEdit

Michael J. Fox with Tracy Pollan at the 40th Emmy Awards in August 1988 shortly after they were marriedIn addition to commercials such as Tilex and McDonald's, and his first role in a feature film in Midnight Madness (1980), Fox's first important role was as "Young Republican" Alex P. Keaton in the show Family Ties which aired on NBC for seven seasons, from 1982 to 1989. It had been sold to the network using the pitch "hip parents, square kids," [4] and the parents were originally intended to be the main characters. However, the audience reacted so positively to Fox's character Alex P. Keaton during the taping of the fourth episode that he became the focus on the show.[4] This happened despite the fact that Fox received the role only after Matthew Broderick was unavailable.

Brandon Tartikoff, one of the show's producers, felt that Fox was too short in relation to the actors playing his parents, and tried to have him replaced. Tartikoff reportedly said that "this is not the kind of face you'll ever find on a lunch-box". After his later successes, Fox presented Tartikoff with a custom-made lunch-box with the inscription "To Brandon, this is for you to put your crow in. Love and Kisses, Michael J.Fox". Tartikoff kept the lunch-box in his office for the rest of his NBC career.[5]

Although Michael played a younger role, he was 20–28 years old during the show's run. Fox met Tracy Pollan on the show, when she portrayed his girlfriend, Ellen. They later married. When he left his next series Spin City his final episodes (Goodbye: Part 1 & 2, Season 4, Episodes 25 and 26) made numerous allusions to Family Ties. Michael Gross (Who played Alex's father Steven) portrays Mike Flaherty's (Fox) therapist [6] and there is a reference to an off-screen character named "Mallory".[7] After Flaherty becomes an environmental lobbyist in Washington D.C., he meets a conservative senator from Ohio named Alex P. Keaton. Also in one episode Meredith Baxter played Mike's mother.

[edit] Back to the Future trilogyEdit

A few years into Family Ties, Gary David Goldberg was approached and asked to let Fox star in a Steven Spielberg produced film about a time-travelling teenager. At first, Goldberg did not inform Michael about the offer, not wanting to lose Michael to film stardom. Months later, Goldberg was again asked about Michael because Eric Stoltz, who had been chosen for the part after Goldberg stated that Fox wasn't available, was reportedly not giving the energetic performance that Robert Zemeckis, the director, was looking for. Goldberg finally told Michael about the offer and he quickly agreed to play the role of Marty McFly in the film Back to the Future. Fox would rehearse for Family Ties from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. After he was done, he would be rushed to the Back to the Future set where he would rehearse and shoot until 2:30 A.M. This schedule lasted for two full months. On July 4, 1985 Back to the Future was number one at the box office. The film was number one for 11 consecutive weeks and eventually earned a worldwide total of $381.11 million. Two sequels, Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III were released in 1989 and 1990, respectively.

[edit] Mid-careerEdit

Fox in September 1987During and immediately after the Back to the Future trilogy, Fox starred in Light of Day (1987), The Secret of My Success (1987), Bright Lights, Big City (1988) and Casualties of War, (1989). In The Secret of My Success, Fox played a graduate student from Kansas State University who moves to New York City where he has landed a job as a financier. During the shooting of Bright Lights, Big City, Michael was reunited with one time on screen girlfriend Tracy Pollan. Pollan had played Ellen Reed on Family Ties, a dance major at Leland college with whom Alex became involved. Pollan had played Ellen Reed for only one year on the show. Fox then starred in Casualties of War, a war drama about the Vietnam War, alongside Sean Penn.

Casualties of War was not a box office hit, but Fox, playing a Private serving in Vietnam, received good reviews for his performance. In 1991, he starred in two films, Doc Hollywood, a romantic comedy about a talented medical doctor who decides to become a plastic surgeon and while relocating from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, California, he winds up as a doctor in a small southern town; and The Hard Way, playing a famous actor, who is known for his action films. Between 1992 and 1996, he continued making several films, such as For Love or Money (1993) or The Concierge in some countries , Life With Mikey (1993), Greedy (1994), The American President (1995), and Mars Attacks! (1996).[2] His last major film role was in The Frighteners (1996).

He has also done voice work providing the voice of Stuart Little in the movie of the same name and its sequel, both of which were based on the popular book by E. B. White. He also voiced the bulldog Chance in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and its sequel Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco as well as Milo Thatch in Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

Fox had decided to return to television during his shoot for The Frighteners which was filmed in New Zealand. His twin daughters had just been born and he was halfway across the world. While filming the movie in New Zealand, he would watch videotapes of American television shows, such as Seinfeld, Friends, Ellen and more. He saw what good things were going on in television and wanted to return. Also, television meant a more regular schedule and it would allow much more time to spend with his family. The hand prints of Michael J. Fox in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.===[edit] Spin City and later career=== Spin City aired to critical acclaim and high ratings. The show ran from 1996 to 2002 on ABC, based on a fictional local government running New York City, originally starring Fox as Mike Flaherty, a Fordham Law grad serving as the Deputy Mayor of New York.[2] During the third season of Spin City Fox made the announcement to the cast and crew of the show that he had Parkinson's Disease. During the fourth season of Spin City, Fox decided to retire from the show and focus on spending more time with his family. He announced that he planned to continue to act and would make guest appearances on Spin City (he made three more appearances on the show during the final season). After leaving the show, he was replaced by Charlie Sheen, who portrayed the character Charlie Crawford. Altogether 145 episodes were made (see list of episodes). Fox also served as executive producer during his time on the show, alongside co-creators Bill Lawrence and Gary David Goldberg, and continued to be credited as executive consultant after he left.

In 2004, Fox guest starred in two episodes of the comedy-drama Scrubs as Dr. Kevin Casey, a surgeon with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. The series was created by Spin City creator Bill Lawrence, and Fox was one of many Spin City co-stars to appear on that series. In 2006, he appeared in four episodes of Boston Legal as a lung cancer patient who used his influence in an experimental drug test to ensure he received the real drug instead of a placebo. The producers brought him back in a recurring role for Season 3, beginning with the season premiere, where his character is arrested for trying to buy a lung. Though his character did not survive the season (it was revealed that his character died in Trick or Treat), Fox was nominated for an Emmy Award for best guest appearance. Also in 2006, E! True Hollywood Story profiled Fox in a two-hour episode about his life which continues to re-air on the network. In 2009, he appeared in five episodes of the television series Rescue Me which earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. He was also a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 28, 2009 (airing past midnight in some time zones). Additionally, his prime time special based on the New York Times Bestseller Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist aired on ABC on May 7, 2009.

And He Played Lea Thompson's Brother In Ranchos Del Mexico As Johnny Goodman

[edit] Personal lifeEdit

Fox married actress Tracy Pollan on July 16, 1988, at West Mountain Inn in Arlington, Vermont. The couple have four children: Sam Michael (born May 30, 1989), twins Aquinnah Kathleen and Schuyler Frances (born February 15, 1995), and Esmé Annabelle (born November 3, 2001). Fox holds dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship.[9]

Fox started displaying symptoms of early-onset Parkinson's disease in 1990 while shooting the movie Doc Hollywood, although he wasn't properly diagnosed until the next year. After his diagnosis, Fox's drinking, which had been a problem for many years, became even more marked; however, he sought help and stopped drinking altogether.[10] In 1998, he decided to go public with his condition, and since then he has been a strong advocate of Parkinson's disease research.[2] His foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, was created to help advance every promising research path to a Parkinson's disease research through embryonic stem cell studies.[2]

One of the few people to know that Fox had Parkinson's Disease before 1998 was Charles Croughwell, one of his best friends and Fox's stunt double on Doc Hollywood. In later years, Croughwell and Fox developed a system of hiding the symptoms, as explained on E! True Hollywood Story. The Michael J. Fox Theatre in Burnaby===[edit] Illness and advocacy=== Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic neurological disorder which can be characterized by four cardinal symptoms: rigidity (specifically "leadpipe" and "cogwheeling" rigidity), resting tremor, postural instability, and bradykinesia (slow movement). At present, there is no cure, but medications provide some relief from the symptoms. Fox manages his symptoms using Sinemet,[11] a commercial form of Levodopa (L-DOPA) and carbidopa. L-DOPA treatment decreases in effectiveness as it is used over a long period of time, so Fox, like many PD sufferers, extends the life of its effectiveness by using it as little as possible.

In his memoir, Lucky Man, Fox wrote that he did not take his medication prior to his testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee in 1998; "I had made a deliberate choice to appear before the subcommittee without medication. It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease, and the urgency we as a community were feeling, be seen as well as heard. For people who had never observed me in this kind of shape, the transformation must have been startling".[12]

In an April 2002 NPR interview,[11] Fox explained what he does when he becomes symptomatic during an interview:

Well, actually, I've been erring on the side of caution� — I think 'erring' is actually the right word� — in that I've been medicating perhaps too much, in the sense times the symptoms that people see in some of these interviews that have been on are actually dyskinesia, which is a reaction to the medication. Because if I were purely symptomatic with Parkinson's symptoms, a lot of times speaking is difficult. There's a kind of a cluttering of speech and it's very difficult to sit still, to sit in one place. You know, the symptoms are different, so I'd rather kind of suffer the symptoms of dyskinesia... this kind of weaving and this kind of continuous thing is much preferable, actually, than pure Parkinson's symptoms. So that's what I generally do......I haven't had any, you know, problems with pure Parkinson's symptoms in any of these interviews, because I'll tend to just make sure that I have enough Sinemet in my system and, in some cases, too much. But to me, it's preferable. It's not representative of what I'm like in my everyday life. I get a lot of people with Parkinson's coming up to me saying, 'You take too much medication.' I say, 'Well, you sit across from Larry King and see if you want to tempt it.'

In 2006, Fox starred in a campaign ad for Claire McCaskill touting her support for stem cell research. In the ad, he visibly showed the effects of his Parkinson's medication.

As you might know, I care deeply about stem cell research. In Missouri, you can elect Claire McCaskill, who shares my hope for cures. Unfortunately, Senator Jim Talent opposes expanding stem cell research. Senator Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us the chance for hope. They say all politics is local, but that's not always the case. What you do in Missouri matters to millions of Americans, Americans like me.

The New York Times called it "one of the most powerful and talked about political advertisements in years" and polls indicated that the commercial had a statistical impact on the way voters voted.[13]

On March 31, 2009, Fox appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show with Dr. Oz to publicly discuss his condition as well as his recent book, his family and his prime time special which aired May 7, 2009 (Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist).[14]

Fox participated in the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in association with UCLA, April 26, 2009. He shared a conversation with Mary McNamara, a New York Times reporter.

[edit] 2010 Winter OlympicsEdit

On February 28th, 2010, Fox provided a light-hearted segment during the 2010 Winter Olympics' closing ceremony which took place in Vancouver, BC, Canada wherein he expressed how proud he is to be Canadian.

[edit] FilmographyEdit

[edit] ActorEdit

Film
Year Film Role Notes
1980 Midnight Madness Scott
1982 Class of 1984 Arthur
1985 Back to the Future Marty McFly
Teen Wolf Scott Howard
1987 Light of Day Joe Rasnick
The Secret of My Success Brantley Foster/Carlton Whitfield
1988 Bright Lights, Big City Jamie Conway
1989 Casualties of War PFC. Eriksson
Back to the Future Part II Marty McFly, Marty McFly Sr., Marty McFly Jr, Marlene McFly
1990 Back to the Future Part III Marty McFly, Seamus McFly
1991 The Hard Way Nick Lang/Ray Casanov
Doc Hollywood Dr. Benjamin Stone
1993 Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey Chance Voice
Life with Mikey Michael "Mikey" Chapman
For Love or Money Doug Ireland
1994 Where the Rivers Flow North Clayton Farnsworth
Greedy Daniel McTeague
1995 Blue in the Face Pete Maloney
Coldblooded Tim Alexander Also Producer
The American President Lewis Rothschild
1996 Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco Chance Voice
The Frighteners Frank Bannister
Mars Attacks! Jason Stone
1999 Stuart Little Stuart Little Voice
2001 Atlantis: The Lost Empire Milo James Thatch Voice
2002 Interstate 60 Mr. Baker
Stuart Little 2 Stuart Little Voice
2005 Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild Stuart Little Voice

Direct-to-DVD

Television
Year Title Role Notes
1973 The Beachcombers Episode: "Truck Logger"
1977 The Magic Lie Episode: "The Master"
1979 Letters from Frank Ricky CBS TV-Movie
Lou Grant Paul Stone Episode: "Kids"
1980 Palmerstown, U.S.A. Willy-Joe Hall
Family Richard Topol Episode: "Such a Fine Line"
Trouble in High Timber Country Thomas Elston ABC TV-Movie
1981 Trapper John, M.D. Elliot Schweitzer Episode: Brain Child
Leo and Me Jamie Produced in 1976; was not televised on CBC until 1981

credited as "Mike Fox"

1982–1989 Family Ties Alex P. Keaton
1983 The Love Boat Episode: "I Like to Be in America..."
High School U.S.A. Jay-Jay Manners NBC TV-Movie/TV-Pilot
1984 Night Court Eddie Simms Episode: "Santa Goes Downtown"
The Homemade Comedy Special Host NBC TV-Special
1985 Poison Ivy Dennis Baxter NBC TV-Movie
1986 David Letterman's 2nd Annual Holiday Film Festival NBC TV-Special

Segment: The Iceman Hummeth

1988 Mickey's 60th Birthday Alex P. Keaton (a flashback clip) TV-Special
1990 Sex, Buys & Advertising TV-Special
1991 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Michael J. Fox/The Black Crowes"
Tales from the Crypt Prosecutor Episode: "The Trap"
1994 Don't Drink the Water Axel Magee ABC TV-Movie
1996–2001 Spin City Mike Flaherty Season 1 - 4
2002 Clone High Gandhi's Remaining Kidney Voice Role

"Escape to Beer Mountain: A Rope of Sand"

2004 Scrubs Dr. Kevin Casey Episode: "My Catalyst"

Episode: "My Porcelain God"

2006 Boston Legal Daniel Post
2009 The Magic 7 Marcel Maggot (voice only)
Rescue Me Dwight Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor� – Drama Series
2010 Ranchos Del Mexico Johnny Goodman

Main Role


[edit] ProducerEdit

Year(s) Film or television show Notes
1995 Coldblooded Producer
1996–2000 Spin City Executive producer
1999 Anna Says Executive producer
2002 Otherwise Engaged Executive producer
2003 Hench at Home Executive producer

[edit] See alsoEdit

  • The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
  • Back to the Future trilogy

[edit] ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Michael J. Fox Biography (1961-)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Michael J. Fox". James Lipton (host). Inside the Actors Studio. Bravo. 2005-10-30. No. 1112, season 12.
  3. ^ a b "About Michael", Michael J. Fox biography from michaeljfox.org, accessed on October 31, 2006.
  4. ^ a b Reagan's Favorite Sitcom: How Family Ties spawned a conservative hero
  5. ^ Fox, Michael J. (2002). Lucky Man: A Memoir. Hyperion. p.� 81–2. ISBN� 0786867647. http://books.google.com/books?id=EvPcXutL0ygC&pg=RA1-PA81.�
  6. ^ Putting His Own Spin on City's Season Finale
  7. ^ Shales, Tom. "Michael J. Fox, Playing 'Spin City' to a Fare-Thee-Well." Washington Post, May 24, 2000, C1.
  8. ^ http://abc.go.com/specials/michaeljfox/index
  9. ^ "Michael J. Fox Becomes American Citizen," from IMDb, accessed on October 28, 2006.
  10. ^ 'It's the gift that keeps on taking' - The Guardian, published 2009-4-11, retrieved 2009-6-29.
  11. ^ a b "Fresh Air" interview by Terry Gross" National Public Radio, April 2002.
  12. ^ Excerpt from Lucky Man, Chapter 8: Unwrapping the Gift. From michaeljfox.org, accessed on February 08, 2010.
  13. ^ The Michael J. Fox Effect October 26, 2006, U. S. News and World Report.
  14. ^ http://www.celebrityonlinenews.com/Celebrities/Michael-J-Fox/index.html?imagestart=8&videostart=0

[edit] External linksEdit

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_J._Fox"Categories: Actors from Alberta | Actors from British Columbia | American television actors | American film actors | American health activists | American voice actors | Canadian Americans | Canadian-born entertainers in the United States | Canadian child actors | Canadian expatriate actors in the United States | Canadian film actors | Canadian immigrants to the United States | Canadian television actors | Canadian voice actors | Canadian vegetarians | Naturalized citizens of the United States | People from Edmonton | People from North Bay, Ontario | People self-identifying as alcoholics | People with Parkinson's disease | Best Musical or Comedy Actor Golden Globe (television) winners | Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series Screen Actors Guild Award winners | 1961 births | Living peopleHidden categories: Articles needing additional references from January 2010 | All articles needing additional references�

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[2][3]*This page was last modified on 6 March 2010 at 23:30.

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