Back to the Future star Michael J. Fox opened up about his health condition and revealed that the Parkinson’s disease he was diagnosed with almost 30 years ago when he was just 29, is taking its toll and is affecting his short time memory.
Michael disclosed his condition to the public in 1998 and semi-retired from acting two years later as his health worsened. It took young Michael a lot of time to accept the reality, but he finally decided to make the best out of his life despite the struggles the disease forced him to face.
The actor, who has won five Primetime Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, a Grammy Award, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, told People, “My short-term memory is shot.”
He also said how he used to have a “real proficiency for lines and memorization,” but how “the last couple of years have been trickier than most.” Michael added, “And I had some extreme situations where the last couple of jobs I did were actually really word-heavy parts. I struggled during both of them.”
Recently, in an interview with comedian Mike Birbiglia, Michael opened up about never-before-shared aspects of his condition and explained that he had lost his sense of smell. Although this saddened him a great deal, he said he still remembers most of the smells, including that of pine, just before Christmas.
Although it is a common belief that tremor is the first symptom of Parkinson’s Disease, research reveals that most people diagnosed with it lose their sense of smell months, and even years before the diagnosis.
The Teen Wolf and Spin City star has been married to actress Tracy Pollan for 32 years and they have four children together. Despite his struggles, Michael says life is good because he’s surrounded by his loving family and people who are his biggest support.
Along with his wife, Michael established the Michael J. Fox Foundation whose goal is to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease through funded research. The organization is currently the largest non-profit funder of Parkinson’s disease research in the world. His dedication to helping patients with the disease he suffers from himself placed him on the 2007 Time Magazine‘s list of 100 people “whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.”
Although he continued acting after the diagnosis, his work was mainly focused on lending his voice to films like Stuart Little and Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
“My guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no good anymore, my dancing never was good, and acting is getting tougher to do,” Michael told People. “So it’s down to writing. Luckily, I really enjoy it. People don’t believe me, but I love life. I love being with my family.”
The actor has written four books, Lucky Man: A Memoir (2002), Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (2010) and his fourth, No Time Like the Future, released on November 17, 2021.
Michael J. Fox is an incredibly talented actor and an extraordinary man. We only wish him the best in the years to come. We hope he stays as optimistic as he has throughout his life.
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