Michael J Fox
Michael J Fox is one of the most popular actors of the 20th century – not least because of his starring roles in the famous Back to The Future trilogy. When he was diagnosed as having Parkinson’s disease at only 29 years old, he launched a charity, The Michael J Fox Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s. He has invested more than $650 million into research.
Early life and career
Born in Alberta, Canada in 1961, Fox attended Burnaby Central Secondary School, where his favourite activity was ice hockey, but at 5ft 4ins, he was too small to become a serious player, so instead, he took up drama classes. He soon showed an aptitude for acting and at the age of 15, he made his professional debut in a series on CBS called Leo and Me, in which he played a 10-year-old boy.
His first major role was as Alex P Keaton in the sitcom, Family Ties. He also starred in Teen Wolf in 1985, which is a comedy film about a high school student who turns into a werewolf.
Back to the Future
It was the Back to the Future films that thrust Fox into international success. Starring as time-travelling teenager Marty McFly, in a stunning DeLorean car that doubled as a time-machine, Fox was an instant hit and became a teen idol.
The film’s innovative special effects, intricate plot and non-stop witty action were a big hit with movie-goers and critics alike. Released on 3rd July 1985, it grossed more than $381 million worldwide – the biggest box office hit of the year. It won the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing, the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film and the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. It was also nominated for five BAFTAs, four Golden Globes and three further Academy Awards.
In 1999, Fox announced that he had been battling Parkinson’s since 1991 and that he had undergone brain surgery to alleviate the tremors caused by the condition. He revealed he had started displaying symptoms of early-onset Parkinson’s while shooting the film, Doc Hollywood, in 1991, although the condition hadn’t been properly diagnosed until 1992.
Fox was still starring in Spin City when he made his announcement, but despite the show’s success and its Emmy and Golden Globe awards, he left in 2000 because he wished to spend more time with his family – wife Tracy, son Sam and their three daughters Aquinnah, Schuyler and Esmé.
The actor has since made a small number of guest appearances in television series such as The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm – he even made one series of The Michael J Fox Show on NBC in 2013. However, he now devotes his time to looking for a cure for Parkinson’s and is an ambassador for research into the progressive neurological condition.
Scientists are still building up a picture of Parkinson’s and they hope that with continued research, they will be in a better position to unlock better treatments, and one day find a cure. People who have Parkinson’s can be beset by sleeping problems at any stage of the condition, which can cause them to feel drowsy during the day – sleeping problems may be caused by the Parkinson’s, by insomnia or by the medication.
To help children and adults enjoy a better quality of life, Kinderkey has been designing and manufacturing beds for people who have Parkinson’s since 2001. Please contact us for further information on our Stellan complex care system and our Dali electric nursing bed.