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Michael J. Fox Profile

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Michael J. Fox Brad Barket/Getty Images

Born:

June 9, 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Marital Status:

Married to actress Tracy Pollan since 1988; they have four children.

Michael J. Fox’s Early Career:

As a teenager in Canada, Michael J. Fox starred on the sitcom Leo and Me, which lasted for one season. At 18, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. He appeared in small film and TV roles, and in a few commercials.

‘Family Ties’:

In 1982, Fox was cast as conservative teenager Alex P. Keaton in the NBC sitcom Family Ties, about a pair of ex-hippies whose children embraced traditional values. Although Fox only landed the role after Matthew Broderick turned it down, and NBC head Brandon Tartikoff was skeptical of Fox’s ability to carry the show, the actor’s portrayal of Alex proved so popular that the character quickly became the show’s focus. Fox starred on Family Ties until its end in 1989, and won three Emmys for his performance. He also met future wife Tracy Pollan when she guest-starred as Alex’s girlfriend.

Film Career:

While starring on Family Ties, Fox starred in the successful comedies Teen Wolf and Back to the Future, which launched him as a movie star. He went on to appear in two Back to the Future sequels after Family Ties ended, as well as popular comedies The Secret of My Success and Doc Hollywood. Fox was less successful in dramatic roles in Bright Lights, Big City and Casualties of War, and by the mid-1990s his movie career had cooled, with most of his work coming in supporting parts and voice-overs.

‘Spin City’:

With his film career stalled, Fox returned to TV in 1996 with the political sitcom Spin City, co-created by Family Ties creator Gary David Goldberg. Fox played New York City Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty for four seasons, winning an Emmy for the role. After leaving the show (and being replaced by Charlie Sheen), Fox continued to serve as an executive consultant.

Health Issues and Activism:

During the third season of Spin City in 1998, Fox revealed his struggle with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative nerve disorder, and later left the show to focus on tending to his health and advocating for research into Parkinson’s treatments. Since leaving Spin City, Fox has had guest-starring roles on shows including Scrubs, Boston Legal and Rescue Me, but has spent most of his time raising awareness of the struggles of Parkinson’s patients, by recording public service announcements, campaigning for politicians and writing books.

Notable TV & Movie Roles:

Rescue Me (2009)
Boston Legal (2006)
Stuart Little (1999)
The Frighteners (1996)
Spin City (1996-2001)
The American President (1995)
Doc Hollywood (1991)
Back to the Future Part III (1990)
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Casualties of War (1989)
Bright Lights, Big City (1988)
The Secret of My Success (1987)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Back to the Future (1985)
Family Ties (1982-1989)

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