Michael J. Fox reveals how ‘Back to the Future’ helped him fight through Parkinson’s barriers

Michael J. Fox attends red carpet for the Tribeca Talks - Storytellers - 2019 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 30, 2019 in New York City.
Photo credit Getty Images

Like the dented and scratched-up Delorean of his most famous movie, Michael J. Fox just keeps on powering through tough times.

First was a fight for sobriety, and then being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 30 years ago. Fox has since become perhaps the most famous face fighting the disease and has been very candid discussing his journey.

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After a fall in 2018, Fox had surgery and needed to relearn how to walk.

As GMA reported, that period took him to some dark places. But in a new interview with AARP magazine, the 60-year-old actor talks about his road back from that serious bump in the road.

"I started to notice things I was grateful for,” said the “Family Ties” alum. “I concluded that gratitude makes optimism sustainable.”

Even still, by 2020 it was obvious to Fox that he would need to give up his previous life’s work. "I reached the point where I couldn't rely on my ability to speak on any given day,” he explained, “which meant I couldn't act comfortably at all anymore. So, last year I gave it up.”

Even with Parkinson’s and retiring at 60 years old, Fox has not retreated to the porch chair just yet.

He remains highly active as an advocate for Parkinson’s research. "We created what has become this giant network of patients, scientists, and institutions,” he said. “We've put more than a billion dollars into it.”

Even an ever-optimist like Fox can be dragged down through the whole process of surviving. And it will please fans to know what he’s recently used to help battle the blues -- his original movie star making hit, “Back to the Future.”

"I came across it on TV last Christmas,” the actor recalls. “And I thought I was really good in it, better than I thought I'd been. More important, I got the spirit of the movie. I understood ... that we all need ... to take credit for what we've done and the lives we've touched, and to occasionally step back a bit and appreciate that much of life has been great and that there's a lot more to live."

And it will also please fans to know Fox’s energy and sense of humor haven’t been licked either.

The AARP reporter explains that Fox is as rapid-fire as ever in conversation: “Parkinson’s does its best to dam and blur his words, but Fox just bursts through, his thoughts erupting in batches, sometimes seemingly stuck together.”

Asked how he’s doing, Fox replied, “Above average, for a brain-damaged human… I’m kind of a freak. It’s weird that I’ve done as well as I have for as long as I have.”

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