ByJonathan Sim, writer at
I'm a writer/film theorist. Check out my articles on Pixar, Harry Potter, Back to the Future, Die Hard, politics, and more!
Jonathan Sim

Anyone who watched anything back in the '80s and '90s knows who Michael J. Fox is. From time-traveling teen Marty McFly in the critically acclaimed Back to the Future, to the intelligent young Republican Alex P. Keaton in the hilarious sitcom, Family Ties, we all knew who he was.

After his adventures in the DeLorean, he went on to star in the comedy series, Spin City. However, in 1998, he announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, and soon after, he semi-retired from acting. He later formed The Michael J. Fox Foundation, an organization to find a cure for Parkinson's.

Now, let's have a special tribute to the man, the myth and the legend: Michael J. Fox. Here are five fun facts about him that you may not know.

5. His Middle Name Doesn't Start With J

'The Secret of My Success' [Credit: Universal Studios]
'The Secret of My Success' [Credit: Universal Studios]

When Fox registered for the Screen Actors Guild, he found out that there was already another actor registered as Michael Fox. They didn't allow two actors with the same name, so he had to adopt a new name.

His middle name is Andrew, but he decided that Michael A. Fox sounded strange and too much like the Canadian "eh?" So, he ended up inserting a J in his name as an homage to the actor, Michael J. Pollard.

4. He Met His Wife On 'Family Ties'

'Family Ties' [Credit: NBC]
'Family Ties' [Credit: NBC]

When Fox was playing the role of Alex Keaton in Family Ties, a character named Ellen Reed was introduced in Season 4 as someone who Alex didn't initially like, but ended up dating for the rest of the season.

These two ended up hitting it off in real life, and got married in 1988. They have four children, and it seems like they're one of the few celebrity marriages that have actually worked out.

3. He Almost Died During The Filming Of 'Back To The Future Part III'

During a scene in Back to the Future Part III, Fox's character, Marty, was supposed to be hanged by Buford. Fox agreed to do it for the movie, and the only thing stopping him from literally being hanged was keeping his hands on the rope to stop it from actually choking him.

'Back to the Future Part III' [Credit: Universal Studios]
'Back to the Future Part III' [Credit: Universal Studios]

However, during one of the takes, he accidentally let go of the rope and was actually hanged. Fox wrote in one of his memoirs that he passed out as a result, and it took a few seconds, but the crew eventually realized that he wasn't that good of an actor and quickly brought him down, where he regained consciousness.

2. He Was Working Overtime In The '80s

[Credit: Universal Studios]
[Credit: Universal Studios]

There was a time where Fox was working over 16 hours a day, as if we think actors have it easier than the rest of us. When he was filming Back to the Future, he still had his commitment to filming Family Ties. So, he would film Family Ties from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and then rush to the set of Back to the Future to film until 2:30 a.m.

1. He Continues To Act After His Diagnosis

'The Good Wife' [Credit: CBS]
'The Good Wife' [Credit: CBS]

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991. However, even with his condition, he has continued to act on occasion, appearing in Spin City, The Good Wife and The Michael J. Fox Show, to name a few.

Although he doesn't act as much as he used to, the fact that he can still do this, do it well, all while being an activist working for a Parkinson's cure, is amazing. So, here's to you, Michael J. Fox. You're a hell of a guy, and a great optimist.

What's your favorite Michael J. Fox movie? Let me know in the comments down below!

(Source: IMDb, Wikia)


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