|Michael Andrew Fox
|June 9, 1961
|Canadian-American Actor, Comedian, Author, Film Producer, Activist
Michael J. Fox is a Canadian-American actor and comedian. His most famous role is in the Back to the Future franchise. Born as Michael Andrew Fox, he got diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991. At the time, he was only 21. Michael disclosed the condition to the public in 1998. Since then, he is an active activist in the fight against Parkinson’s.
His career lasts for four decades. Michael started acting in the late 1970s but his most famous role is portraying Marty McFly in Back to the Future. Other notable roles include television series Family Ties and Spin City. To this day, Michael has five Primetime Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Grammy.
Let’s check his career summary, awards, and earnings.
Quick Career Summary
Fox made his movie debut in Midnight Madness in 1980. He then appeared in Class of 1984, a movie released in 1982. In the 1980s, Michael earned nationwide recognition by portraying Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties. The show aired on NBC for seven seasons from 1982 to 1989.
Fox said he negotiated the role at a payphone at Pioneer Chicken. He got it after Matthew Broderick’s unavailability.
In the beginning, the show used the motto “Hip parents, square kids”, with a focus on the parents as the main characters. But the positive reaction to his Fox’s character led to the studio making him the focus of the show since the fourth episode. At its peak, the sitcom drew one-third of America’s households.
During the show, Michael met his wife Tracy Pollan. She portrayed his girlfriend in the sitcom, Ellen. Working on Family Ties made him a teen idol.
In January 1985, Fox got cast to replace Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movie. Michael was the first choice for the role anyway, but the creator of Family Ties did not let it. Opening in schedule allowed Michael to work on both sets. He rehearsed for Family Ties from 10 am to 6 pm, and then rushed back to shoot Back to the Future until 2:30 am. He worked this schedule for two months.
Back to the Future was an instant success. The premise of a teenager going to the future to save his past was a commercial and critical success. The movie spent 8 consecutive weekends as a number-one-grossing movie in 1985. In total, the movie earned $381 million.
After Back to the Future, Fox starred in Light of Day, Teen Wolf, Bright Lights, Big City, and The Secret of My Success.
His last major role in the 1990s was The Frighteners. Directed by Peter Jackson, the movie debuted in 1996. After that, he starred in Spin City. This was another successful and popular sitcom. It ran from 1996 to 2002 on the ABC network. Fox won an Emmy for the city and three Golden Globes.
In the early 2000s, Michael J. Fox took a short hiatus of acting. The reason was simple, his condition worsened. He announced to his cast and crew during the third season. During the fourth season, he made the retirement announcement. Charlie Sheen replaced him on the show. Michael served as executive producer during his time on the show, a total of 145 episodes.
After his condition improved, Fox made it back to TV. But he did not accept major roles. He appeared in five episodes of the series Rescue Me in 2009. Again, he earned an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor.
At this point, he focused more on writing. He released three books, titled Lucky Man: A Memoir (2002), Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned.
In 2010, he accepted a recurring role in the US drama The Good Wife.
Highest Grossing Movies
Eight of his movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark. That is 32% of his movies. Back to the Future is his biggest box office hits. Four of his movies received at least one Oscar nomination in any category. That number amounts to 16% of his movies. Here are the highest-grossing movies.
- Back to the Future earned $537 million
- Back to the Future II earned $365 million
- Back to the Future III earned $232 million
- Stuart Little earned $252 million
- The American President earned $125 million
For his role in Back to the Future, Fox earned a salary of $250,000. The movie grossed more than $210 million in the US alone. To reprise his role in the second and third installments, he got paid $5 million. That is 20 times more than the original movie.
It is no surprise Michael J. Fox assets are estimated at over $65 million. He even had a special clause in his Spin City contract. The contract stated the studio has to keep paying him as long as the show was in production. In other words, even after he left the show, he got paid.
Awards and Achievements
Michael J. Fox earned a lot of awards during his acting career. Most of his awards are for his two successful TV shows and Back to the Future trilogy. Here is a quick list of his awards.
- Four Golden Globe Awards for Best Performance by an actor in television series, 3 for Spin City and 1 for Family Ties
- Five more Golden Globe nominations for Family Ties and Spin City
- Four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding lead actor, three for Family Ties and one for Spin City
- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding guest actor for Rescue me
- 11 more Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his roles in Spin City and Family Ties
We said Michael J. Fox’s wealth is over $65 million. But what about his personal life? He married actress Tracy Pollan on July 16, 1988. They have four children together. Michael has dual Canadian-US citizenship.
He is the founder of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. He wants to help advance research work with embryonic stem cell studies. To this date, the foundation raised more than $300 million. Michael and his wife live in Manhattan, but they also have a home in the Hamptons.
He started displaying symptoms of early Parkinson’s in 1991. That was while shooting the movie Doc Hollywood. After the diagnosis, he started drinking heavily and suffered from depression. In 1998 he went public with his disease for the first time. Since then, he is a strong advocate for Parkinson’s research.
His first book, Lucky Man, focused on how after seven years of denial he set up the foundation and stopped drinking.