Michael J. Fox Gives Update on His Health

Michael J. Fox has become the most famous Parkinson's patient in the world since he announced his diagnosis back in 1998. The actor and philanthropist announced his retirement from acting last year, 30 years after his initial diagnosis and 20 years later than his doctor estimated he would be able to keep working. He has been fairly open about his health challenges since 1998, writing books and giving interviews, as well as founding a nonprofit that works to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson's and to continue working toward a cure. 

Fox is on the cover of AARP Magazine this week, offering up a celebration of his 65th birthday and an assessment of what's next. In spite of some memory and speech problems, which have caused him to stop acting, he is in good spirits and feeling  "Above average, for a brain-damaged man."

"I'm kind of a freak. It's weird that I've done as well as I have for as long as I have," Fox told AARP. "People often think of Parkinson's as a visual thing, but the visuals of it are nothing. On any given day, my hands could be barely shaking or they could be …" He flailed his hands around. "It's what you can't see—the lack of an inner gyroscope, of a sense of balance, of peripheral perception. I mean, I'm sailing a ship on stormy seas on the brightest of days."  

Fox recently had a recurring role on The Good Wife, and has appeared in a pair of episodes of the spinoff The Good Fight. In 2018 he also had a brief run on Designated Survivor. Fox has periodically done some voice work -- notably for American Dad and the Stuart Little movies -- which may seem like an obvious way for him to keep acting in some capacity if he wants to, since he can have the script at hand in the booth.

Fox has turned his eye toward becoming an author, with an autobiographical book, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, out on November 17. It details some of the struggles he has overcome since his diagnosis, and how he manages to stay positive when a lot of people would think he has reason to be pretty upset.

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"I'm down to this," Fox told People of writing the book back in November. "My guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no good anymore, my dancing never was good, and acting is getting tougher to do. So it's down to writing. Luckily, I really enjoy it."