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Michael J. Fox reveals that his Parkinson’s disease has impacted his memory


Michael J. Fox reveals that his Parkinson’s disease has impacted his memory and the kind of roles he takes: ‘I couldn’t remember the lines’

Michael J. Fox has shared how his Parkinson’s disease has impacted his acting career and the type of projects he now takes.

While appearing on Mike Birbiglia’s ‘Working It Out‘ podcast, the 60-year-old actor admitted that remembering lines has become harder since he was first diagnosed. 

‘When I did the spinoff from The Good Wife, which is The Good Fight, I couldn’t remember the lines. I just had this blank, I couldn’t remember the lines,’ he stated. 

Struggle: Michael J. Fox, 60, shared that his Parkinson’s disease has impacted his career and the projects he takes, admitting that remembering lines has become harder; Pictured in 2021

The Canadian star revealed that he didn’t struggle with his lines when he was younger, as he reminisced on his role on Family Ties, an NBC sitcom that he starred on from 1982 to 1989. 

‘I’d go, “I’m in. Mallory, get off the phone.” And I knew it, like in an instant, and it continued to be that way for me,’ the actor said.

‘I have 70 pages of dialogue on a [Brian] De Palma movie, and knowing that a hugely expensive Steadicam shot depends on me knowing the lines — not a trickle of sweat on my brow,’ he added, referring to the 1989 film Casualties of War, where he starred alongside Sean Penn. 

Lines: 'When I did the spinoff from The Good Wife, which is The Good Fight, I couldn't remember the lines. I just had this blank, I couldn't remember the lines'; Pictured on The Good Fight

Lines: ‘When I did the spinoff from The Good Wife, which is The Good Fight, I couldn’t remember the lines. I just had this blank, I couldn’t remember the lines’; Pictured on The Good Fight

Fox admitted that he no longer take projects with a lot of lines: ‘I can’t remember five pages of dialogue. I can’t do it,’ he said. ‘So I go to the beach.’

The longtime movie star has previously shared his Parkinson’s struggles in a 2020 interview with People, discussing his short-term memory, tremors and rigidity.  

‘My short-term memory is shot,’ he stated, adding, ‘I always had a real proficiency for lines and memorization. And I had some extreme situations where the last couple of jobs I did were actually really word-heavy parts. I struggled during both of them.’

The actor was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, in 1991. He went public with his diagnosis in 1998, and continued his acting career.

With Sean: Fox said he didn't struggle with lines when he was younger, remembering his '70 pages of dialogue' on the 1989 film Casualties of War, where he starred alongside Sean Penn

With Sean: Fox said he didn’t struggle with lines when he was younger, remembering his ’70 pages of dialogue’ on the 1989 film Casualties of War, where he starred alongside Sean Penn

He has starred in a multitude of projects since, including The Good Wife, Designated Survivor, The Good Fight, and See You Yesterday. 

In a 2021 interview with AARP The Magazine, Fox stated that he has found purpose and joys despite living with the disease. 

‘As I came through that darkness, I also had an insight about my father-in-law, who had passed away and always espoused gratitude and acceptance and confidence. And I started to notice things I was grateful for and the way other people would respond to difficulty with gratitude,’ he added.

‘I concluded that gratitude makes optimism sustainable,’ the actor said.

Strong: The actor was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, went public with his diagnosis in 1998, and continued his successful acting career; Pictured in 2021

Strong: The actor was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, went public with his diagnosis in 1998, and continued his successful acting career; Pictured in 2021

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