Mr. Fox was born in Edmonton, Canada in 1961. He left high school during his eleventh grade, and headed to Hollywood, to try his hand in acting. He had several famous roles in the 1980s. He played Marty McFly in the Back to the Future Trilogy, and he played Alex B Keaton on Family Ties. He also played M Flaherty on Spin City. He won awards for his roles in Family Ties and Spin City. Fox left Spin City due to worsening Parkinson’s symptoms he publicly disclosed in 1998. He had been battling Parkinson’s since 1991 and had started the Michael J Fox Foundation for finding a cure for Parkinson’s. He is a very active advocate of the foundation, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet presented him with a honoris causa doctorate for his work in promoting a cure for Parkinson’s disease on March 5, 2010.
Mr. Fox has furthermore written some books on his coming to terms with his disease and how his life has evolved since leaving the public eye. His first book: Lucky Man: A Memoir (2003) is a description of his childhood, his rise to fame with his film and television career, and his campaign to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. The book has an honest take on this incurable disease.
Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009).
This second book picks up from the first book. It takes a look at his daily struggles with Parkinson’s disease, not as a complaint, but as a matter-of-fact. Mr. Fox has been able to find the upside and stay optimistic due to his disease. He wrote this book to tell all of us that everyone has struggles, to find the good in the struggle, and to keep faith that a good outcome will happen with your focus. The book has four themes: work, politics, faith and family. Michael states his relationship with his wife, Tracy Pullan as well as his children is stronger now because of his disease. Mr. Fox has reinvented himself since he has left the limelight, and started working with his foundation, one could argue for the better for us all.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (2010)
His latest book is written toward recent college graduates. He describes some of the other famous people who eschewed a formal education. He also describes life as a high-school dropout and starving artist living in Hollywood. He has since gotten his GED and received honorary doctorates. He compares his school of hard knocks life to some of the more common subjects in high school and college: economics, living the life of a poor actor and comparisons to US economy; comparative literature – comparing TV and film scripts to their full length book counterparts; political science – his ongoing support of his Parkinson’s foundation; and geography from his personal life. It’s a short, but good read.