Michael J. Fox made his battle with Parkinson’s public over 20 years ago, and ever since then, difficult as it’s been, he’s tried to stick with the profession that made him a name. And he’s tried to stay busy, even if he wasn’t always acting. But you may not see him act, for a while, at least. According to People, Fox says that health concerns have forced him to retire from acting, at least for now.
The problem stems in part with what it’s done to his short-term memory. “The nascent diminishment in my ability to download words and repeat them verbatim is just the latest ripple in the pond,” Fox told People. “There are reasons for my lapses in memorization — be they age, cognitive issues with the disease, distraction from the constant sensations of Parkinson’s, or lack of sensation because of the spine — but I read it as a message, an indicator.
“There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me,” he said. “At least for now.”
The onetime Marty McFly did try to stay positive, playfully referring to this as a “second retirement,” but also adding that we may see him perform onscreen again. “That could change, because everything changes. But if this is the end of my acting career, so be it.”
Over the last few years, Fox has been blunt about his failing health. In 2018 he broke his arm after a fall resulting from Parkinson’s, and he underwent surgery for a noncancerous tumor on his spine. That forced him to learn how to walk again. Recently he said that his “short-term memory is shot,” and had openly questioned whether he could return to acting. On the plus side, there’s one talent that hasn’t been robbed from him: He’s become a prolific writer, his fourth memoir, No Time Like the Future, having arrived this week.
“My guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no good anymore, my dancing never was good, and acting is getting tougher to do,” Fox told People earlier this month. “So it’s down to writing. Luckily, I really enjoy it.”