“There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me,” writes Michael J. Fox in No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, per the Los Angeles Times. In his new memoir, Michael, 59, realizes that thirty years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it may be time to wrap up his historic and incredible career. “At least for now,” he writes. “I enter a second retirement. That could change, because everything changes. But if this is the end of my acting career, so be it.”
Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 when he was just 29 years old. At the time, he was already a pop culture icon, having starred in the Back to the Future movies, as well as The Secret of My Success, Teen Wolf, and the Family Ties television show. Despite the prognosis, Michael continued to work, appearing in For Love or Money, Stuart Little, and Spin City. The latter would win him three Golden Globes (Best Actor In A Television Series – Comedy or Musical) and an Emmy Award.
Though Michael has continued to work after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s – In 2020, he appeared on a pair of The Good Fight episodes and in the teaser for Lil Nas X’s “Holiday” – he claims that his disease may have been why NBC only picked up one season of his 2013 sitcom, The Michael J. Fox Show. “I think Parkinson’s freaked them out, which was problematic, because it was the premise of the show,” writes Fox, per the Los Angeles Times. Though Michael owned up to the show’s failures, writing that he didn’t have “the focus or the bandwidth to administer the life support the show would need to make it. That’s on me, and I’m fine with that.”
When speaking about his memoir on the Nov. 16 episode of Good Morning America, Michael said that he’d reached a sort of “peace” with the fact that he’s had Parkinson’s for half his life. “It takes up the space it takes, and it left me room to do other things and thrive and golf and have friendships and travel,” he said.
He also has time to binge-watch TV – he’s a fan of Peaky Blinders, The Greatest British Baking Show, and old game shows – and movies. One film helped Michael come to terms with the end of his acting life: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. “[Leonardo] DiCaprio, playing a cowboy actor who’s seen better days, keeps screwing up his lines,” writes Michael in his new memoir. “Furious at himself over his chronic inability to remember and deliver the dialogue… [he] berates himself viciously over his abject failure. I feel his pain. I’ve obviously been there.
“But weighed against everything else in my life, I don’t find it worthy of self-excoriation,” he adds. “My work as an actor does not define me.”