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Michael J. Fox Would End Acting Retirement If a Role Came Up ‘That I Could Put My Realities’ and ‘Challenges’ Into: ‘If I Could Figure It Out’


Michael J. Fox‘s retirement from acting might not be permanent. The actor recently told Entertainment Tonight that he’d be open to returning to the profession bearing the right role. The “Back to the Future” and “Family Ties” star stepped back from acting in 2020 as his Parkinson’s disease made it increasingly difficult to remember dialogue.

“My biggest goal, I think, was to raise a family. We have four amazing kids, and that’s been the big thing,” Fox said about retiring from acting. “And then the other is with the [Michael J. Fox] foundation…[however] if something came up that I could put my realities into it — my challenges — if I could figure it out.”

While Fox has not acted in a film or television show since his 2020 guest role on “The Good Fight,” he hit the press circuit last year in support of his Apple TV+ documentary “Still.” He said participating in the movie was a “big thrill” and “if someone offers me a [new] part, and I do it, and I have a good time, great.”

During an appearance on Mike Birbiglia’s “Working It Out” podcast in 2022, Fox said that he stepped back from acting because he was having difficulty memorizing his lines. He struggled on the set of “The Good Fight” and the “same problem” occurred while he as filming the series “Designated Survivor.”

“It was this legal stuff, and I just couldn’t get it,” Fox said at the time. “But what [was] really refreshing was I didn’t panic. I didn’t freak out. I just went, ‘Well, that’s that. Moving on. A key element of this process is memorizing lines, and I can’t do it.’”

Fox revealed to Empire magazine last year that Leonardo DiCaprio and Quentin Tarantino crossed his mind when he landed on the decision to stop acting for good.

“I thought of ‘Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,’” Fox said. “There’s a scene where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character can’t remember his lines anymore. He goes back to his dressing room and he’s screaming at himself in the mirror. Just freaking insane. I had this moment where I was looking in the mirror and thought, ‘I cannot remember it anymore. Well, let’s move on.’ It was peaceful.”

The scene Fox referenced is one of the more memorable sequences in Tarantino’s film. DiCaprio’s character, the actor Rick Darlton, has an over-the-top meltdown over forgetting his lines and trashes his trailer in a fit of rage. 

Fox graced the cover of Variety magazine last year and spoke honestly about living with Parkinson’s disease. The actor said, “I’ve won more awards and had more nominations since I announced my diagnosis. It may be that people feel bad for me, but I prefer to look at it as an acknowledgment for continuing to have a legitimate career.”

When presented with the idea that he’s a hero for living so openly with his diagnosis, Fox said, “It’s just a nice way of people letting me know they are moved by my acceptance of things and by the way that I’ve tried to make a difference. But no matter how much I sit here and talk to you about how I’ve philosophically accepted it and taken its weight, Parkinson’s is still kicking my ass. I won’t win at this. I will lose. But, there’s plenty to be gained in the loss.”