In his latest book, the 59-year-old opens up about many cognitive changes in him, including confusion, loss of memory, delusions, and dementia.
Michael J. Fox has enjoyed an illustrious career in the film industry despite his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. When Fox was 29, a doctor said he would be lucky to work another 10 years. The actor, who was most famous for his role as Marty McFly in Back to the Future, ultimately proved the medical professional wrong after working for thirty more years and earning eight Emmy nominations. Even though his body gave in, Fox managed to keep going with the help of his optimism. However, now it seems like his acting career might be nearing its end, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In his latest book, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, out on Tuesday, November 17, Fox has reportedly provided a realistic vision of what the future beholds for him. "There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me," he writes in the book. "At least for now ... I enter a second retirement. That could change, because everything changes. But if this is the end of my acting career, so be it."
In his latest memoir, the 59-year-old opens up about many cognitive changes that he had been noticing, including confusion, loss of memory, delusions, and dementia, which is something he has "rarely contemplated before now, much less spoke of." Sharing a few unpleasant incidents that ultimately led to this realization, the philanthropist describes searching for his car keys one fine day only to realize that he no longer drives. He also recalls asking "What did you think?" to "the person to my left, who isn’t there" and confusing one of his twin daughters for the other.
After his diagnosis in 1991, the four-time Golden Globe Award winner opened up about his health condition in 1998. He then went on to star in Spin City from 1996-2001 and continued making recurring guest appearances on The Good Wife from 2010-16. His health took a terrifying turn back in 2018 when a noncancerous tumor on his spine was causing him a lot of pain as it grew rapidly. Following successful surgery, Fox had to learn how to walk again during a four-month period. Shortly after this, his health took another hit when the actor suffered a bad fall, which he says "was definitely my darkest moment." Even during this time of physical healing, he learned another lesson—that "optimism is really rooted in gratitude."
"Optimism is sustainable when you keep coming back to gratitude, and what follows from that is acceptance," he said. "Accepting that this thing has happened, and you accept it for what it is. It doesn’t mean that you can’t endeavor to change. It doesn’t mean you have to accept it as a punishment or a penance, but just put it in its proper place. Then see how much the rest of your life you have to thrive in, and then you can move on." Despite numerous ailments, Fox's undeterred spirit kept pushing him, but recently he told PEOPLE how Parkinson’s has affected his ability to memorize his lines. "My short-term memory is shot. I always had a real proficiency for lines and memorization. And I had some extreme situations where the last couple of jobs I did were actually really word-heavy parts. I struggled during both of them," he said.
Looking at what he’s built as an advocate for Parkinson’s research and treatment almost dwarfs what he’s done as an actor. He has the ability to change lives and hopefully one day find a cure. He is a wonderful example of what a former celebrity can do with their retirement.— Matt (@SkrobiwanKenobi) November 16, 2020
In the hopes of dealing with this speech issue, he now practices shouting tongue twisters to improve his projection and diction. Although acting doesn't come as easy as it used to, Fox is not ready to give up just yet. He decided to indulge in the art of writing, something that he has grown to love. In addition to his latest memoir, he has written three other books: Lucky Man, Always Looking Up, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future. Fox says writing has become his primary creative outlet now. "I’m down to this. My guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no good anymore, my dancing never was good, and acting is getting tougher to do. So it’s down to writing. Luckily, I really enjoy it," he said, according to PEOPLE.