In 1961, Michael J. Fox was born as Michael Andrew Fox in Edmondton, Alberta in Canada. (Famous actor Michael J. Pollard was the inspiration behind the “J” Fox currently bears in his name.)
Fox was a hockey fan who fantasized about one day becoming a star in the National Hockey League. However, his teenage years drove him towards becoming a different kind of star; his creative blossoming through art, rock guitar, and writing eventually led him to discover a deep love of acting.
Fox first acted professionally at the age of 15 as co-star of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s sitcom Leo and Me. Until the age of 18, Fox worked in both local theater and television, including a few TV movies for American audiences.
Fox moved to Los Angeles at 18 to further pursue his career. Following a series of small roles, Fox landed the part of Alex P. Keaton on the critically-acclaimed NBC sitcom Family Ties, a role that lasted seven years. During his stay, Fox was awarded three Emmy awards and one Golden Globe, quickly becoming one of the most outstanding young actors in the country.
A few years following his success with Family Ties, Fox starred on a new television series, Spin City, in 1996. His portrayal of New York deputy mayor Michael Flaherty garnered critical acclaim across the board and led to multiple awards, including three Golden Globes and an Emmy Award. Fox, who also acted as an executive producer of the show, took full advantage of living and working in New York City. Hijinks included diving into the Hudson River and horse-riding bareback through Central Park.
In addition to his television work, Fox has starred in over a dozen major films spanning a variety of genres. Notable examples include Bright Lights, Big City, Teen Wolf, and the Back to the Future trilogy. He has also provided voice acting for many major children’s films, including Stuart Little, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Homeward Bound.
In 1991, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Upon publicly revealing his condition to the public in 1998, Fox became dedicated to promoting the research towards a cure of Parkinson’s disease. Fox retired from Spin City after 100 episodes in 2000 to devote his full time to this cause, founding the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Fox continues to work extensively in acting; he has appeared on multiple sitcoms and dramas, including FX’s Rescue Me, ABC’s Boston Legal, and NBC’s Scrubs. Recently, Fox has become a successful author; his 2002 memoir, Lucky Man, was a New York Times Bestseller, as was his 2009 book Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. Fox’s books reflect gratitude for his successes and joy in the face of his disease, solidifying his place as a top inspirational speaker and writer.