Actor Michael J. Fox became an ’80s film sensation with his roles in “Back to the Future” and “Family Ties.” But besides his fame as a film star, the now-retired actor is also highly recognized for his involvement in the advocacy of Parkinson’s disease.
Fox has suffered from the disease for decades now, after he started displaying symptoms of early-onset Parkinson’s disease in 1991 while filming “Doc Hollywood.” He was diagnosed shortly after.
After years of raising awareness and funds for the research of the disease, the actor was recently awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 13th Annual Governors Award.
He received the award from Woody Harrelson, who noted that despite suffering from the illness for so long, Fox never saw himself as a victim, instead facing his challenges face-on and raising over a billion dollars through his foundation.
Harrelson revealed that Fox had not asked for the role of an advocate for the disease, and yet, despite the many blockbusters he appeared in, his advocacy role is, by far, his best performance. According to Harrelson:
“Michael J. Fox sets the ultimate example of how to fight and how to live.”
Michael J. Fox accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award with Tracy Pollan onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 13th Governors Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on November 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
Fox received the Oscar statuette amid a lengthy standing ovation, and once he began to speak, he was so appreciative that he stated he might start to shake. He gave an emotional speech about his wife of 34 years, Tracy Pollan, for the support she had always given him since his diagnosis. He couldn’t seem to find the right words and fumbled before saying:
“Tracy made it clear she was with me for the duration.”
He shared that he had faced plenty of challenges since the diagnosis, noting that despite Parkinson’s being a disease that keeps on taking, it has been a gift to him. He then called his wife to the stage, also noting that he could not believe he had stood there for so long.
His wife then kissed him passionately before returning to their seats. Also in attendance to see him receive the award were their four children Sam, twins Schuyler and Aquinnah, and Esme.
What Is the Current State of Michael J. Fox?
The past few years have been tough for the actor. He had an unlucky streak in 2018 after he suffered a broken arm following a risky spinal cord injury.
He recovered well, but then in the ensuing months, he suffered a broken elbow, arm, cheek, shoulder, and hand. However, the last month or so has been a massive milestone for the star, as he has made notable progress and can now walk unassisted.
He has since recovered, and he can walk unassisted for the first time in a long time. During an interview with People in October, the star noted that he was getting to a place where he was walking steadily again:
“I think it’s cool to walk by myself. It is. It’s fantastic.”
The actor first walked unassisted in public during their mini-reunion with his “Back to the Future” costar Christopher Lloyd, and recently when receiving his humanitarian award.
Michael J. Fox: His Life With His Wife amid His Fight with the Disease
Fox and Tracy have been married since 1988, but their love only grows stronger. Even after being diagnosed with the illness only three years into their marriage, Tracy never left her husband’s side and has been her primary support.
Fox recalls the day he broke the news of his diagnosis to his wife, saying that while they did not know what to expect while waiting for the results, all he remembers of that moment is that Tracy did not blink.
She has remained loyal and by his side all those years later, and Fox appreciates that he is living his best life now because his wife and children have stayed supportive and love him just the same.
“My best life now is I enjoy my family so much,” says Fox. “Tracy and the kids are amazing. I know that sounds boring, it sounds like a fairy tale, but we’ve been married thirtysomething years, so we’ve got something figured out.”