Dear Michael J. Fox
I know it was on June 9th, but I still wanted to wish you a happy 50th birthday. Born Michael Andrew Fox, upon joining the Screen Actors Guild, you chose Michael “J” Fox as your professional name. This was tribute to character actor Michael J. Pollard, one of the best character actors in Hollywood.
I regard you as an exceptional man, Michael J. I admire you as an father, husband, actor, writer, advocate and optimist. You’ve been battling illness for a long time and yet continue to move forward. You were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 30. At that time you might have chosen to quietly leave public life and live in seclusion with your wife and family. I knew a man with Parkinson’s disease who chose to do just that. He closed himself up in his house and rarely went out—mostly because of embarrassment. What you’ve done with your life, Michael J, is quite the opposite of that man. What you’ve done is nothing less than astonishing.
Now, Michael J, (may I call you Michael J? I’m a Michael J Pollard fan too!) your career in the entertainment field, as far as I am concerned, has been remarkable—both in television and film. Whether it was “Family Ties,” “Teen Wolf,” or the “Back to the Future” trilogy, your performances have been 100% fantastic. You were certainly the favorite in our family as we watched “Family Ties.” My children called it the “Alex P. Keaton Show.” And you once said of the “Back to the Future” trilogy: “I'm…proud to be a part of a trilogy of films that, if they do nothing else, allow people to check their problems at the door, sit down and have a good time. “
You were first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, but chose not to disclose it until 1998. I remember when we first heard about it. We were shocked. How could this happen to such a young man? I remember when you left the highly popular show “Spin City” because of the Parkinson’s disease and went into semi-retirement. You work now and then in small guest roles on television and even do voiceover work for many films, including the “Stuart Little” films. You’ve even done the voice for the “Back to the Future” video game!
Furthermore, you make spending time with your family a priority. You’ve said: “Family is not an important thing, it's everything.” You also established the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is “dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today.”
How surprising it is, Michael J, to see where you are now in your life. Who would’ve thought the young man we all fell in love with so many years ago as Alex P. Keaton, is now considered one of the most respected men in the country; even a hero! Thank you for your courage, optimism, commitment to family and commitment to helping improve the lives of those who also battle the same disease. Once you said, “In my 50s I'll be dancing at my children's weddings.” I believe that will happen, Michael J! Happy “belated” 50th Birthday, Michael J. Fox.
Regards, Mrs Love