Michael J. Fox is taking a second retirement from acting. The Back to the Future actor states as much in his fourth memoir, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, which is out on Tuesday. In the book, Fox talks about his trials with Parkinson’s and getting older, acknowledging that acting may now be beyond him: “There is a time for everything,” Fox writes, “And my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me. 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 new memoir, Michael J. Fox goes on to reveal that his decision to step back from acting isn’t just about age and the typical “old man problems.” According to LA Times’ preview, Fox makes some pretty intimate confessions about how his mental cognition is showing signs of decline – as is typical of many patients with Parkinson’s. Fox describes experiencing memory loss, confusion, delusions, and symptoms of dementia. He shares anecdotes about looking for car keys (years after he stopped driving); talking to people who aren’t there; and even confusing his twin daughters.
“Everyone’s taking an abundance of caution with me and warned me to be careful,” he continued. “I have to think before I walk; I can’t just get up and go because I don’t have much control of my momentum and control of my direction.”
What helped Fox shake this dark time in his life was a piece of advice his late father-in-law — the dad of his longtime wife, actress Tracy Pollan — had given him.
“He would always say, no matter what was going on, ‘It gets better, kiddo. It gets better. The last thing you run out of is the future,'” he remembered. “He lived every day with gratitude and I realized, if there’s gratitude, then you have sustained optimism.”
Back to the Future is one of the few film franchises that haven’t been forced into reboot; Teen Wolf inspired a whole new generation of content and fans; even The Frighteners is still considered a cult-classic. On the television front, Family Ties and Spin City are still enduring series – and that’s just a sampling of what Fox has done.
It’s been decades since Michael J. Fox last stepped into Alex P. Keaton’s blazer, but the actor is still keenly aware of his Family Ties character’s preferences. During a Tuesday appearance on The View, Fox said that Alex, an outspoken Republican, would not support President Trump today, regardless of their shared party affiliation.
On Tuesday, Fox appeared on The View to discuss his new memoir, No Time Like the Future, but the conversation quickly turned to his iconic role as Alex P. Keaton, the oldest child of hippies Steven (Michael Gross) and Elyse Keaton (Meredith Baxter), in Family Ties. “We all remember you as Alex P. Keaton, the teenage Republican in an otherwise Democratic family,” said co-host Sara Haines. “Do you think a show like this could exist in today’s political climate, and what would Alex P. Keaton think of Trump?”
“I don’t think he’d think much of Trump,” replied the Family Ties star. “I think he would have liked [George] Bush. I think he would’ve liked [Mitt] Romney. I think he would’ve liked a lot of these [Republican] guys, but I don’t think he would have dug Trump.”
From 1982 to 1989, Fox, Gross, and Baxter dramatized the political intra-familial clashes that are currently taking place across the United States. As a Young Republican who idolizes Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan (who even declared Family Ties to be his favorite television show in the 1980s), and Milton Friedman, Alex frequently clashed with his parents, two ex-hippies who met at Berkeley. Throughout its seven-season run, Family Ties won countless awards, including three consecutive Emmy Awards for Fox as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
The release of Fox’s third memoir comes just one week after he and his Family Ties co-stars reunited for a Stars in the House virtual special. The Family Ties reunion was rife with nostalgia, but of course, the stars couldn’t stay away from politics for too long. “I loved the time that we were together. I think as you’ll all agree, a kinder, gentler politics,” said Gross. “My daughter is going to vote in the next election, so I want her to get a feel of what America’s about,” added Baxter. “So we need to definitely come back to the Keaton’s kitchen table.”
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