Michael J. Fox entered '7 years of denial' following Parkinson's diagnosis

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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Beloved actor Michael J. Fox recently revealed he entered "seven years of denial" following his shock diagnosis with Parkinson's disease in 1991 at just 29 years old.

The Canadian-American actor - who shot to fame with his portrayal of Marty McFly in the 80s Back to the Future movie series - made the revelation when he accepted the Academy Awards' Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award last month.

Per the Academy's website the award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an "individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry."

It is only fitting that this year the prize - presented by fellow actor Woody Harrelson - was awarded to 61-year-old Fox, who has dedicated much of his life to advocating for Parkinson's research - raising billions for the cause through his non-profit charity, The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

During his acceptance speech, Fox mentioned that the award was an "unexpected honor," before talking about how he went from a high school dropout in Canada to an award-winning actor. He even joked to the audience that their standing ovation was "making him shake."

"I did leave high school in the 11th grade, sold my guitar and moved to L.A. [...] I told my history teacher of my plan and he said, 'Fox, you're not gonna be cute forever.' I had no idea how to respond to that, so I said, 'Maybe just long enough, sir. Maybe just long enough.' It turns out we were both right,'" he recounted.

Though, he said his career hit "full stride" in a matter of years. "During my first days then months then years in the American film and television industry, I booked some jobs, ducked some landlords, dove in a few dumpsters and eventually I found myself unbelievably on a TV series called Family Ties. I was on top of the world. I had a hit television show, two movies in the can and it was all good in the neighborhood," he added.

At the age of 29, however, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease - with the actor telling the audience at the ceremony that the doctor had said he only had just 10 years left to work. "That was s****y," he recalled.

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FOx was accompanied by his wife and four children at the award ceremony. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy

"Then I entered into seven years of denial, trying to make sense of it all," Fox then said. "The kid who left Canada, convinced that he would make anything happen just by working hard and by believing, now had a tall order in front of him. I told very few people. And they kept my secret."

Seven years later, in 1998, Fox made his diagnosis public.

As previously reported, Fox then set up his foundation in 2000 that would be "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".

In an interview with Variety last year, Fox praised the research his foundation has helped fund, stating: "I enjoy life more. I'm more comfortable in my skin than I was 20 years ago. I can sit down and be calm. I couldn't do that 25 years ago. That’s the medications, the drug cocktails, and therapies that we've been a part of."

Well, I don't know about you, but there'll always be a place for Michael J. Fox in my heart!

Featured image credit: SOPA Images Limited / Alamy

Michael J. Fox entered '7 years of denial' following Parkinson's diagnosis

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

Beloved actor Michael J. Fox recently revealed he entered "seven years of denial" following his shock diagnosis with Parkinson's disease in 1991 at just 29 years old.

The Canadian-American actor - who shot to fame with his portrayal of Marty McFly in the 80s Back to the Future movie series - made the revelation when he accepted the Academy Awards' Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award last month.

Per the Academy's website the award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an "individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry."

It is only fitting that this year the prize - presented by fellow actor Woody Harrelson - was awarded to 61-year-old Fox, who has dedicated much of his life to advocating for Parkinson's research - raising billions for the cause through his non-profit charity, The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

During his acceptance speech, Fox mentioned that the award was an "unexpected honor," before talking about how he went from a high school dropout in Canada to an award-winning actor. He even joked to the audience that their standing ovation was "making him shake."

"I did leave high school in the 11th grade, sold my guitar and moved to L.A. [...] I told my history teacher of my plan and he said, 'Fox, you're not gonna be cute forever.' I had no idea how to respond to that, so I said, 'Maybe just long enough, sir. Maybe just long enough.' It turns out we were both right,'" he recounted.

Though, he said his career hit "full stride" in a matter of years. "During my first days then months then years in the American film and television industry, I booked some jobs, ducked some landlords, dove in a few dumpsters and eventually I found myself unbelievably on a TV series called Family Ties. I was on top of the world. I had a hit television show, two movies in the can and it was all good in the neighborhood," he added.

At the age of 29, however, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease - with the actor telling the audience at the ceremony that the doctor had said he only had just 10 years left to work. "That was s****y," he recalled.

wp-image-1263181665 size-full
FOx was accompanied by his wife and four children at the award ceremony. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy

"Then I entered into seven years of denial, trying to make sense of it all," Fox then said. "The kid who left Canada, convinced that he would make anything happen just by working hard and by believing, now had a tall order in front of him. I told very few people. And they kept my secret."

Seven years later, in 1998, Fox made his diagnosis public.

As previously reported, Fox then set up his foundation in 2000 that would be "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".

In an interview with Variety last year, Fox praised the research his foundation has helped fund, stating: "I enjoy life more. I'm more comfortable in my skin than I was 20 years ago. I can sit down and be calm. I couldn't do that 25 years ago. That’s the medications, the drug cocktails, and therapies that we've been a part of."

Well, I don't know about you, but there'll always be a place for Michael J. Fox in my heart!

Featured image credit: SOPA Images Limited / Alamy