He started off as a Teen Idol in The Eighties, making a dual hit on both film and television as Marty McFly from the Back to The Future trilogy (1985-1990) and Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties (1982-1989), for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. A rather popular but generally less famous role was the main character in Teen Wolf. He also did some serious stuff that almost no one remembers, and he's acknowledged that he isn't an actor who can "blend" into a wide variety of roles.
Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, and disclosed his condition to the public in 1998. Fox semi-retired from acting in 2000 as the symptoms of his disease worsened. He has since become an advocate for research towards finding a cure.
Despite his "retirement" he has guest starred on various television shows and also some voice acting work, most notably Stuart Little and Atlantis: The Lost Empire, where his distinctive child-like voice adds to the generally benign nature of his characters. Some of his guest spots have him pigeon-holed as a man with an illness, when he guested on Boston Legal he had lung cancer, and when he guested on Scrubs he had OCD.
He also appeared as himself in his prime time special Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (A Personal Journey of Hope) in May 2009. On May 4, 2010, he (for lack of a better word) trolled Stephen Colbert on his own show.
- Family Ties (TV series)
- Back to The Future Trilogy
- Teen Wolf
- Doc Hollywood
- The Secret Of My Success
- The American President
- The Frighteners
- Spin City (TV series)
- Stuart Little (and sequels) (voice)
- Atlantis the Lost Empire (and sequels) (voice)
Tropes Associated with Michael J. Fox
- Breakout Character: Alex P. Keaton was meant to contrast his parents, but effectively became the star of the show.
- Canada, Eh?
- Dawson Casting: He was 23 playing 17 year old Marty McFly, and due to his short stature and youthful face has almost never played a character the same age. In Spin City Michael Flaherty was established as just turning 30 just as Fox was approaching 40.
- Fake American: Many people are very surprised to learn he is Canadian.
- Keet: He's always been quite energetic and he confessed that in more recent productions his energy is to hide the signs of Parkinson's.
- Older Than They Look: For many years, due to his short stature and youthful face. However, the effects of his condition have been pushing him up recently. Even still, He doesn't look like he is fifty.
- Old Shame: He really hated working on Teen Wolf and refused to come back for the sequel.
- One Mario Limit: The other Michael Fox was more well-known when Michael J. Fox was just starting out, so he had to add the middle initial. For the record, his middle name is actually Andrew, but he wanted to avoid headlines like "Michael, A Fox!"
- Rule of Sean Connery: Far more so since his retirement as viewers will take any viewing of him they can get.