Michael J. Fox is the cover model for the April/May issue of AARP magazine. In a seriously straightforward interview he talks to AARP about life with Parkinson’s disease, his charity, his family, and what’s next for his career.
Twenty one years ago Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He was told by his doctors that ten years would be all he should expect for his career to last.
In 2000 Michael established the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. According to their website the Foundation, “is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today.”
Michael has been married to actress Tracy Pollan for 24 years. Together they have four kids: Sam, 23, twins Aquinnah and Schuyler, 18, and Esmé, 11. Life with Parkinson’s, especially when it comes to being an active parent, is a challenge for the entire family. Tracy shares how the ebb and flow works, “the first thing he does is go back to the kids when he’s feeling good. It teaches them patience and empathy.”
After several popular guest starring roles in Scrubs, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Good Wife Michael will be returning to prime time in an a comedy in what is, for now, simply being referred to as “Untitled Michael J. Fox Project.”
“It’s too difficult to hide it. I could manage it for a scene or so, but it would fall apart over time. As long as I play a guy with Parkinson’s, I can do anything.”
The excitement over Michael returning to a TV comedy created a bidding war in Hollywood and ultimately NBC won the honor of airing his show.
Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment, “It’s an incredible show. Michael came in and pitched us the show and it was basically completely inspired by his life as a husband and father and family man who’s grappling with his disease,”
Chairman of NBC Entertainment Robert Greenblatt says, “To bring Michael J. Fox back to NBC is a supreme honor and we are thrilled that one of the great comedic television stars is coming home again. From the moment we met with Michael to hear his unique point of view about this new show, we were completely captivated and on board. He is utterly relatable, optimistic, and in a class by himself, and I have no doubt that the character he will create – and the vivid family characters surrounding him – will be both instantly recognizable and hilarious. Being in business with him is a supreme pleasure.”
Michael surrounds himself with positively and humor about life. “If I’m at events and I’m clapping,” he says with a smile, “my mind will say, ‘Stop clapping,’ but I just keep going. Tracy says, ‘You’re always the last one clapping.’ I swear, it’s not out of appreciation — it’s out of disintegration. You have to laugh at that.”
We can’t wait to see one of the greatest TV stars of a generation return to prime time TV later this Fall.
Image Credit: AARP