“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God's business.” – Michael J. Fox
Fox, who celebrated his 56th birthday this past weekend, stays exceptionally busy despite his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease, working on causes ranging from finding a cure for the illness to eradicating hunger and housing shortages.
He remains one of the most well-known faces in acting, never resting on the laurels that came from his earlier successes, especially as Alex Keaton on the long-running TV series Family Ties, and as teen heartthrob/adventurer Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movie series.
A native of Edmonton, Canada and now longtime resident of New York City, Fox’s 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 in the process. At the end of the series, he presented Tartikoff with a lunchbox with his face emblazoned on the cover.
Also a gifted writer, Fox 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 seemingly crushing odds.
“I see possibilities in everything. For everything that's taken away, something of greater value has been given,” Fox said. “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.”
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