Michael J. Fox talks more about his decades-long battle with Parkinson’s disease – especially how it affected his memory. The “Back to the Future” actor was diagnosed with the neurological disease in 1991. He was 29 years old at the time.
Fox made his battle with Parkinson’s disease public in 1998, which “is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Symptoms begin gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremor is common, but the condition also often leads to stiffness or slowing of movement,” says the Mayo Clinic. Although the exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is not known, factors such as genes and environmental triggers could lead to a diagnosis.
As for the symptoms associated with the disease, Fox showed that his memory is not what it used to be. “My short-term memory is gone,” he told people in an interview published on Wednesday.
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Memorization is a crucial skill when it comes to acting, and Parkinson’s disease has not made it easy for him in recent roles. “I have always had a real talent for text and memorization. And I’ve had some extreme situations where the last few jobs I’ve done have actually been very wordy roles. I had problems in both cases,” he added.
People noticed that he was “practicing tongue twisters to improve his projection and diction,” because the disease was affecting his speech. Fox’s diagnosis had not stopped him from acting. Since then, he has appeared in the shows Spin City, The Good Wife and even his own show, The Michael J. Fox Show. He has also starred in several films and even played dubbing actors.
In the meantime, Fox has acquired another skill that serves as a creative outlet for him: writing. “This is my thing,” Fox confessed. “My guitar playing is not good. My drawing is no longer good, my dancing has never been good, and acting is becoming more and more difficult. So it’s the writing. Fortunately, I really enjoy it.”
The actor’s fourth memoir, No Time Like The Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, will hit the bookstores on November 17. It is currently available for pre-order.
In the forthcoming book, Fox “tells personal stories and observations about sickness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perception of time influences the way we deal with mortality. Thoughtful and moving, but with Fox’s characteristic sense of humor, his book offers a vehicle for reflection on our lives, our love and our losses”.