Michael J. Fox is a legend in the entertainment industry. He started acting when he was 19 and has racked up countless awards. He was the face of the celebrated Back To The Future franchise and acted for a combined 11 years in the sitcoms Family Ties and Spin City. Unfortunately, another part of Fox's legacy is his struggle with Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's disease is a central nervous system disorder that primarily affects mobility. Michael's first symptoms of the disease manifested while he was shooting Doc Hollywood in 1991. It would take another year before he was officially diagnosed. The severity of his situation took a dark toll on him and he began drinking heavily. Michael pulled himself out of his despair and sought help.
He quit drinking and in 1998 he revealed his condition to the public. Since that day Michael has become the face of Parkinson's disease advocacy. Two years later, Michael started The Michael J. Fox Foundation with the goal of advancing research towards the cure of Parkinson's disease.
Soon after, he appeared in front of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee to talk about the disease. He made a conscious decision to not take his medication to show the committee, and the world, what Parkinson's looks like. In one of his books, Lucky Man: A Memoir, Michael talked about his decision.
"It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease, and the urgency we as a community were feeling, be seen as well as heard. For people who had never observed me in this kind of shape, the transformation must have been startling."
Since then, Michael has been steadfast in his activism, and has acted as a role model to people around the world.
Michael has retreated from the spotlight in recent years, focusing more on voice acting, which is why it was so exciting to see him step onto the MetLife stadium stage in New Jersey with Coldplay. Guitar in hand, Michael took his place alongside the band to raucous cheers.
The chance collaboration was thanks to Chris Martin's son, Moses. In a video clip, Moses requested that Michael sing a song from “the greatest movie of all time," Back To The Future. Before Michael came out Coldplay performed a medley featuring "Johnny B Goode" and "Earth Angel." Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay, interrupted "Earth Angel" to introduce Michael.
“Ladies and gentlemen, from the best movie of all time. Please welcome, Mr. Michael J. Fox!”
The audience went nuts. Those familiar with Parkinson's know how difficult simple tasks can be. So seeing Michael start ripping out guitar solos shocked everyone.
Watch Michael steal the show in the video below.
Fighting The Good Fight
Michael continues to inspire people while fighting a terrible disease and people, rightfully, love him for it. You can learn more about Parkinson's Disease and The Michael J. Fox Foundation on their website.