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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Reaching for excellence


“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God's business.” – Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox is fast approaching geezerhood (he turned 54 this past week), but he’s staying exceptionally busy despite his ongoing battles with Parkinson’s Disease, working on causes ranging from finding a cure for the illness to eradicating hunger and housing shortages.

Probably one of the most iconic faces in acting, especially for the two roles for which he will always be remembered – the young Republican Alex Keaton on Family Ties and teen adventurer extraordinaire in the Back to the Future series.  He also is a gifted writer and  uses his writing skills to spread the word about the disease from which he suffers, ever optimistic that with enough attention and support a cure can be discovered – if not in his lifetime then at least to help future generations.  Lucky Man, his book about dealing with the disease, is a must read for those interested in how to overcome the odds.

His acting career almost got sidelined from the start.  The director of Family Ties wanted him for the Alex role, but producer Brandon Tartikoff felt Keaton was “too short (he’s 5-foot-4) and not the kind of face you’d like to see on your kid’s lunchbox.”  But they tried him in the pilot and he was so well-received he went on to be the key figure in the show, winning three Emmy Awards for his acting.

At the end of the series, he presented Tartikoff with a lunchbox with his face emblazoned on the cover.

 

 “I like to encourage people to realize that any action is a good action if it's proactive and there is positive intent behind it.”