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The Tragic Reason Michael J Fox Is Only Choosing Roles With Few Lines

To say that the 60 year-old Michael J. Fox is an icon, or legend even, isn't too far off-base. Beloved for his role as Alex P. Keaton on "Family Ties," as well as his performances as Marty McFly in the "Back to the Future" franchise, Fox is as closely associated with the '80s as the Brat Pack or John Hughes.

The self-described "genuinely happy guy" reflected on his 30 years since his Parkinson's disease diagnosis in an interview in 2021 with AARP, saying, "if you don't think you have anything to be grateful for, keep looking. Because you don't just receive optimism. You can't wait for things to be great and then be grateful for that. You've got to behave in a way that promotes that." But even with all of his positivity, he made the decision after guest-starring in the series "The Good Fight" as Louis Canning that it was time to retire from acting. "I reached the point where I couldn't rely on my ability to speak on any given day, which meant I couldn't act comfortably at all anymore," he told the magazine.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fox updated the world on his life. He also talked about why nowadays, if he does take a role, it can only have a few lines.

Parkinson's disease has affected Fox's ability to remember lines

While Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease has definitely affected his ability to act over the years, he continued finding a way to move forward with roles, with life. "His stamina is phenomenal," says Fox's producer and friend, Nelle Fortenberry (via AARP). "Even though Parkinson's is progressive and diminishes what you're physically able to do, he's found ways to shift the focus to what he has rather than what he doesn't have." But then Parkinson's began to affect his memory and his ability to remember lines — key skills in the actor's profession. Still, Fox remained calm. 

Fox has always been a fast talker, with his thoughts seemingly moving faster than he could get them out of his mouth. Hearing him say that he didn't freak out about this new development goes to show the depth of Fox's grateful and accepting attitude about life. "For whatever reason, it just is what it is," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I can't remember five pages of dialogue. I can't do it. It can't be done. So I go to the beach." Most actors, who rely on memorizing a lot of lines for their work, would be devastated, angry over such a discovery. But Fox isn't like most actors, or even most people, and his amazing attitude just makes him even more of a legend.