Michael J. Fox Through the Years: From ‘Family Ties to ‘Back to the Future’ and Beyond
A Hollywood icon and philanthropist! Michael J. Fox gained worldwide recognition beginning in 1982 on the NBC sitcom Family Ties and continued his skyrocket to fame for the next four decades.
The Doc Hollywood actor was born in Alberta, Canada, in June 1961 and began his acting career at the age of 16 in the Canadian TV series Leo and Me.
After making the move to Los Angeles in 1979, Fox landed his breakthrough role in the sitcom Family Ties, which aired from 1982 to 1989. The Stuart Little star’s role of “Young Republican” Alex P. Keaton earned him three Emmy awards in 1986, 1987 and 1989.
“I was still pretty fresh off being an 11th grade dropout,” Fox told PBS in a May 2023 interview. “Literally, in three years, I go from being the kid stuffed in lockers to having a conversation with Steven Spielberg about doing his next movie. Doesn’t happen.”
During his time while filming Family Ties, Fox met his future wife, Tracy Pollan, while on set. The pair tied the knot in 1988 and welcomed four children – son Samuel in 1989, twins Aquinnah and Schuyler in 1995 and daughter Esmé in 2001.
After working on Family Ties, the Bright Lights, Big City star went on to appear in several successful films including 1985’s Back to the Future and Teen Wolf.
While working on a movie in 1991, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which led to him growing depressed and drinking heavily. The Hard Way actor — who retired from acting in 2020 — did not go public with the news until nearly eight years after his initial diagnosis.
“You deal with the condition and you deal with people’s perception of the condition,” Fox told AARP in their March 2017 issue of his diagnosis. “It was easy for me to tune in to the way other people were looking into my eyes and seeing their own fear reflected back. I’d assured them that, ‘I’m doing great’ — because I was. After a while, the disconnect between the way I felt and the dread people were projecting just seemed, you know, funny.”
In May 2023, Fox released the documentary Still, which reflected on his successful career as well as his battle with Parkinson’s disease.
“I decided to create this documentary for a couple reasons, first bringing awareness to this disease has been very important to me for years and I wanted to continue that work through film,” the Casualties of War star told Us Weekly in March 2023. “The second is for my fans. They, along with my family [have] been the reason I have been able to go on. As I say, my fans gave me life and I wanted to be open about mine.”
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Keep scrolling for a look back at Fox’s life and career over the years: