Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

As his health declines, Michael J. Fox says he's retiring from acting

Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox
Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Michael J. Fox has a new memoir out today, No Time Like The Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, and according to a Los Angeles Times account of the book, it offers a “more sober and realistic vision” of his life than previous Fox memoirs. Included in that more sober and realistic vision is Fox coming to terms with the realization that his acting career is probably over. “There is a time for everything,” he says in the book, “and my time of putting in a 12-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me.” Fox says he’s thinking of this as a “second retirement,” and though there’s still a chance things could change, he says, “if this is the end of my acting career, so be it.”

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The reasoning for this is Fox’s declining health from Parkinson’s, with him saying in the book that he’s started to notice more instances of memory loss and confusion lately—like trying to find his car keys before remembering he can’t drive anymore or asking questions to people who aren’t really there. He also compares trying to physically move around to a “negotiation in my mind between Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi.” He also says he feels a connection to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, specifically in the way that he’s an actor struggling to do what used to come naturally to him. In Fox’s case, though, he says his inability to keep acting isn’t “worthy of self-excoriation,” explaining, “my work as an actor does not define me.”

If it’s all not sad enough already, Fox also writes that he’s been binge-watching a lot of old TV shows as a way to explore “another reality” or “visit a world that’s pre-me,” noting, “just like the performers in these old shows, someday I will survive myself in reruns.” It’s heartbreaking stuff, and it’s hard to say if Fox’s cross between realism and optimism makes it better or worse.

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