Michael J. Fox knows his decades-long battle with Parkinson’s has taken a toll on his life. That won’t stop the “Family Ties” star from calling himself a “tough son of a b—.”
More than 30 years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Fox, 62, said this week that he has a “very complicated” view of the disease, which is characterized by uncontrollable tremors.
“I’ve said Parkinson’s is a gift,” he told Town & Country in an interview published Thursday. “It’s the gift that keeps on taking, but it has changed my life in so many positive ways.”
Fox, who went public with his diagnosis in 1998, discussed the fundraising strategy of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, co-founded with Chief Executive Deborah Brooks. After deciding against being a spokesperson for other Parkinson’s foundations, Fox said he wanted to put his efforts toward giving “money at the right people,” including scientists who might find a cure to the disease.
“The goal is to go out of business,” Fox said.
In 2020, the actor’s foundation funded $233 million in grants, after bringing in nearly $200 million in private donations, according to the magazine. As a result of its efforts, a foundation-backed study published its findings in April that Parkinson’s can be detected by a biomarker protein.
Fox said the research supported by his foundation “opens the gates for pharmaceutical companies to come in and say, ‘We’ve got a target and we’re going to dump money into it.’”
The “Good Wife” actor’s battle with Parkinson’s also put his family life in the spotlight. Fox is married to actor Tracy Pollan and they have four children. Fox and his family were featured in Davis Guggenheim’s 2023 documentary “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie.”
The Emmy-winning actor, who has previously mused on his mortality, said he fears “anything that would put my family in jeopardy.” He described to Town & Country his grim nightmares about falling onto his family members while out in public near a busy street.
In April, Fox told “CBS News Sunday Morning” that he doesn’t see himself living to be 80 and noted that “you don’t die from Parkinson’s — you die with Parkinson’s.” In the Town & Country interview, the actor said, “one day I’ll run out of gas” and that he will “allow myself that.”
He added: “If I were to pass away tomorrow, it would be premature, but it wouldn’t be unheard of. And so, no, I don’t fear that.”