FOX, Michael J.

Author Tags: Biography

Family Ties celebrity Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1990, eight years before the public knew about his condition. That year he began writing a memoir to be called Lucky Man (Hyperion, 2002) coached by his brother-in-law Michael Pollan, author of the non-fiction title The Botany of Desire. All royalties from his book have gone towards supporting research into the disease.

Michael J. Fox was born in Edmonton, Alberta on June 9, 1961, the third of four children. The family moved to various Canadian military stations until they settled in Burnaby when he was eleven. Fox played hockey and formed a rock band with his friends when he was 14. His high school drama teacher suggested he audition for a local TV show called Leo and Me. Fox, at age 16, played a ten-year-old. He went to Hollywood at age 18 and eventually auditioned for a new sitcom called Family Ties. "I think I won," he said, "by being more obnoxious than the other kids who auditioned." For seven seasons he played Alex P. Keaton, an unusually conservative teen. He also appeared in films that included Back to the Future in 1985. He reunited with actress Tracy Pollan, who he had met on the set of Family Ties, and they married in 1988. In 1997 he began producing a new TV sitcom called Spin City. Prior to undergoing a brain operation in 1998, he disclosed his illness to the public. He retired from television in 2000 and founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. In 2002 he was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

[Photo: Michael J. Fox appeared before a commission in Washington, D.C. in 1999 to advocate for more research regarding Parkinson's disease.]

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2003] "Biography" "Television"